Butchery chain Crawshaw Group which positions itself as a value-for-money retailer, said sales and profits grew during the festive period.
According to a trading update covering the 15 week period to 24 December 2017, total group sales for the 15 week period increased by +0.6% versus the prior year, with group gross margin also increasing by +0.6%. The performance for the 15 week period was underpinned by the strength of the growing factory shop format, which helped to offset the impact of lower footfall on the high street and the overall softer consumer sentiment.
“We experienced a strong core festive trade with Group sales in the week leading up to Christmas reaching a record £1.8m and almost 3,500 amazing value meat hampers sold,” the firm said.
Last year the company opened two more new factory shop units, taking the total to 10 factory shops within the 54-shop estate. The factory shops delivered a strong festive trade accounting for a quarter of group sales in the period. “As previously noted, our factory shop model is proven with our 10 factory shops continuing to perform well and are on track to deliver a circa one-year cash payback,” the firm said.
The company said its partnership with the 2Sisters Food Group is progressing well with core poultry supply routes well established and a framework for successful new product category tests landing over the festive period. “We are already looking to leverage the supply agreement to expand this type of activity to increase the basket spend of our existing customers and to incentivise more new customers to build us into their regular shopping routine,”
Chief executive Noel Collett, said: “On balance, this was a solid core Christmas trading performance against what remains a very tough high street environment. Our biggest ever Christmas week and the record number of meat hampers sold clearly demonstrates the trust our customers place in us for their most important meat spend of the year. This gives us a solid platform to improve trading momentum going into 2018.
“We continue to focus on strengthening Crawshaws’ position as the country’s best value butcher. We are excited by the performance of our factory shops and by the progress of our 2Sisters supply agreement and, while there is much to do, we remain confident that this combination will be transformational for the long-term growth of the company.”