TheWorks.co.uk says online sales remain above pre-pandemic levels after stores reopen

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TheWorks.co.uk PLC (LON:WRKS) said online sales remain “significantly” ahead of pre-pandemic levels even if they have dipped after the reopening of stores.

The stationary retailer has reopened most of its sites, except those in the Republic of Ireland due to resume trading on Monday.

It added that it is too soon to understand whether the current, “encouraging” trading reflects strong underlying performance as opposed to pent up demand.

In the 53 weeks to 2 May, sales declined 19% to £206mln due to restrictions hampering trading.

During the period, there were 16 weeks when all stores were closed and another eight when at least 75% were shuttered.

As of 2 May, the estate counted 527 sites across the UK and Ireland compared with 532 last year.

The year ended with a cash balance of £500,000, compared to net debt of £7mln a year ago, resulting in headroom of £30mln within its bank facility limit.

Steve Alldridge, who joined the business in June 2020 as interim chief financial officer, has been formally appointed as a permanent member of the board effective from Friday.

“The Works is another business that has become stronger out of the crisis: the online offer is much improved and in our view the range in store is on the money too,” analysts at Peel Hunt commented, raising the target price from 50p to 100p. 

Shares shed 5% to 69p on Friday morning.

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