17 July 2003
17 July 2003
PRE-CLOSE PERIOD TRADING UPDATE
'STRONG LIKE FOR LIKE SALES GROWTH'
In line with best practice, Ottakar's plc, one of the UK's leading specialist
book retailers, reports on trading progress, prior to entering its close period
in respect of the 26 weeks to 2 August 2003.
Total sales for the 23 weeks to 12 July were up by 34%, with like for like sales
increasing by 7.9%. Excluding the launch of the fifth Harry Potter novel, our
like for like sales increase for the period was 5.2%. Gross margins are in line
with our expectations for the period.
In April Ottakar's announced the acquisition of twenty four Hammicks stores.
Twelve of these have had their fascias changed to Ottakar's and the remainder
will be rebadged by the end of September. Sales at the twenty four stores were
up 6.4% (6.6% on a comparable space basis) during the eleven weeks of our
ownership to 12 July. The integration of this acquisition is proceeding well.
Ottakar's exploited the huge success of the Harry Potter launch on 21 June to
best effect. Our stores sold 80,000 copies in the first 24 hours, with a
cumulative total of 122,000 copies sold to date. The out performance on launch
amongst specialist book retailers was entirely due to the extraordinary
creativity of our staff. Our Wizard Quest competition held in association with
the Daily Telegraph created a prolonged period of publicity for the Ottakar's
brand in the weeks leading up to the launch. It culminated in a grand finale for
30 lucky winners at the film location of Alnwick Castle in Northumberland on the
night of the book's publication.
Ottakar's will be announcing its interim results for the 26 weeks ended 2 August
2003 on Thursday 25 September.
Philip Dunne, Chairman commented; 'Trading has been strong so far this year,
driven further by the exceptional success of the fifth Harry Potter novel and
the extended period of publicity for books in general in the weeks leading up to
its publication. It is too early to anticipate the outcome of our full year,
which will, as ever, be dependent on the crucial Christmas trading period.'
For further information:
Edward Knighton, Finance Director 0771445 8566
Buchanan Communications 020 7466 5000
Charles Ryland, Nicola Cronk
This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange