Hobbycraft defies retail gloom with eighth consecutive year of sales growth

Alys Key
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Hobbycraft has a core base of loyal customers (Source: Hobbycraft)

Hobbycraft, the specialist arts and crafts supplies retailer, has posted its eighth consecutive year of sales growth as its online operations grow.

The figures

The chain, which has 90 stores, was resilient in its bricks-and-mortar operations, posting 2.3 per cent like-for-like growth in the year to 18 February.

Meanwhile online sales were up 21.5 per cent, with profit in the channel up 77.7 per cent.

Underlying earnings grew to £9.8m from £7.4m.

Read more: B&M wards off high street troubles amid garden amid leisure sales boost

Why it's interesting

Hobbycraft has a specialist but loyal customer base, including 3m people who are members of its Hobbycraft Club scheme.

This means it can draw customers to visit its stores with demos and workshops, which it says has made the branches "social centres for craft".

The social approach has also translated to the website, which Hobbycraft says has big potential for user-generated content such as photographs and videos.

The positive performance figures come at the end of Archie Norman's tenure as chairman. Having helped to transform Hobbycraft over the past four years, he took up the mammoth task of chairing M&S last year.

He has been replaced by Matt Davies, a former boss of Halfords and Pets at Home.

Read more: Marks and Spencer's shares jump as Archie Norman named chairman

What Hobbycraft said

Chief executive Dominic Jordan, was was promoted to the role in April, said: "We are very pleased with our financial and operational performance during the year."

"Looking ahead, we will continue to invest in multi-channel expansion whilst continuing to improve our overall customer proposition and experience,” he added.

Read more: It's a make or break year for big out-of-town retailers

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