RNS Number : 1635D
17 March 2011
INTERIM MANAGEMENT STATEMENT
AGM STATEMENT, TRADING UPDATE
17 March 2011
In his address to shareholders at the Company's Annual General Meeting this afternoon, Chairman Mike Killingley said:
"Gross sales for the 19 weeks to 12 March 2011, including concessions and the two new stores acquired in 2010, were 5.9% higher than for the previous year, Like-for-like sales declined by 6.2%. For the first quarter, to 29 January 2011, gross sales were up 4.9% on the previous year.
As noted in the Annual Report, trading in the current year has been significantly adversely affected by the worst pre Christmas snowfalls for 30 years. However since the weather improved we have made progress in recapturing the lost sales; gross sales during the latest six-week period since 29 January, including concessions and new stores, were 9.4% up on the previous year and like-for-like sales were 4.7% lower.
The Board is pleased that first quarter sales were achieved at an improved gross margin compared with the previous year, despite the promotional discounting required to be competitive over Christmas.
Furthermore, like for like expenses were lower than the previous year as we continued to focus on cost reduction, albeit total expenses increased as a result of the acquisition of the two new stores.
The increase of VAT on 4 January 2011 and the effect of the Government's tighter fiscal policy mean that the remainder of the year will be challenging, but the Board believes the strategies and actions being taken will in due course improve the Group's financial performance".
For further information:
Tony Brown, Chief Executive
Ken Owst, Finance Director
Tel: 01202 552022
Tel: 020 7408 4090
This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange