(Sharecast News) - The Works said trading was well ahead of expectations since its stores reopened after the Covid-19 lockdown as the crafts and books retailer reported a loss for the year to the end of April.
The company swung to an £18m pretax annual loss from a £2.3m profit a year earlier as revenue rose to £225m from £217.5m. The loss was driven by a £19.5m charge for the reduced value of store assets and goodwill.
Adjusted profit before tax fell to £2.4m from £6.9m as Covid-19 cost the company an estimated £3m. The Works did not declare a final dividend.
The company, which sells art materials, stationery and books, had delayed its results for the year to the end of April because of Covid-19.
The Works said sales fell 26% in the first seven weeks of the financial year, which covered much of the peak of the Covid-19 lockdown. Online sales more than tripled during lockdown. Since stores began to reopen like-for-like sales have risen 0.7% with online sales more than offsetting lower store revenue.
Gavin Peck, The Works' chief executive, said: "The closure of our entire store estate in March had a significant impact on our business, however we responded to the crisis with agility and were ready to bounce back once safe to do so. We are encouraged by the trading performance since lockdown lifted and will continue to focus on improving our online capacity and customer experience in stores under social distancing as we head into peak Christmas trading."
Peck said he expected trading to take some time to return to pre-crisis levels and that consumer confidence could be hit by Brexit as the deadline for full separation approaches. The Works opened 37 stores last year but will open fewer new branches in the current year to concentrate on existing shops, he said.
The Works shares fell 2.3% to 23.25p at 09:46 BST.
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