Specialist dessert retailer Cake Box saw shares spike almost four per cent this morning, as it announced group revenue jumped just under a third in the first half of 2020.
The cream cake specialist said group revenue hiked 30 per cent to £8.6m in the 20 weeks to 30 September — up from £6.6m in the same period last year.
Earnings before tax climbed 0.5 per cent to £1.98m over the six-month period.
The egg-free bakery said gross margin improved to 48.4 per cent over the half-year, up from 45 per cent in March.
Like-for-like sales in franchise stores grew 12.1 per cent in the 20 weeks to 30 September, with total franchisee turnover up 23 per cent to £17.1m.
The results came even though all 139 of its franchise stores were shut for six weeks during the six-month period.
Cake Box tipped its success to a 51 per cent jump in online sales during the pandemic, after the group debuted on delivery apps Uber Eats, Just Eat and Deliveroo over the period.
The group declared a 15 per cent hike in its interim dividend to 1.85p, which it said reflected “strong cash generation with cash from operations of £2m”.
Chief executive Sukh Chamdal said: “We have shown considerable resilience during an unprecedented half year period and have emerged a stronger business for it.
“This gives us confidence that the momentum in our national rollout will return to pre-Covid levels. This has all been the result of a monumental effort from our franchisees, who have continued to focus on giving customers the very best service, and a delicious product, in difficult times.”
He added: “With a strong balance sheet and unique proposition, we remain confident of making continued progress in the second half.”
Shares in the Aim-listed firm jumped almost four per cent at market open to 197.8p.
It comes after Cake Box in September said it would hand back £156,000 of furlough cash to the government, and would make no further claims under the scheme.
Cake Box said it had enjoyed an additional boost from birthdays as people chose to celebrate their lockdown birthdays belatedly.
The group has opened six new stores since the end of the first nationwide lockdown, including in Swindon and Basingstoke, and said it was targeting further new store openings.