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Matalan sales and profit rise despite "tough retail climate"

Press Association
03 June 2019

Value fashion and home retailer Matalan saw sales and profit increase last year despite what its boss called a “tough” time for retailers. Revenue was up 3.8% to £1.1bn for the 52 weeks to 23 February.

Underlying earnings were flat at £102.4m, while pre-tax profits were up 50% at £30.1m.

The business was hit by a £39m currency headwind, but chief executive Jason Hargreaves said strong underlying sales and cost management had helped it to absorb this.

“The business has performed very well this year, outperforming the market in what remains a tough retail climate,” Hargreaves said.

“In uncertain times, we are well positioned in offering the great design, quality and value that appeals to savvy customers.”

Store refurbishments and investment in infrastructure have boosted the business’s efficiency, while online sales have grown rapidly.

Hargreaves said: “Well-managed execution has enabled growth to accelerate this year in both complementary store and online channels, online growing by over 30%.”

Price promotions helped to draw in the shoppers over Christmas, when Matalan reported growth both in stores and online.

But the chain also reported that it had increased the number of full-price sales by 3.2% across the full year.

The final quarter of the year benefited from a smaller currency headwind, with underlying earnings inching up to £14.8m in the 13 weeks to 23 February.

Hargreaves warned however that the retail landscape still looks gloomy. “We expect market conditions to continue to be very challenging, and so remain cautious for the year ahead, focused on the execution of a strategy that is clearly working,” he said.

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