Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol help The Works notch up record festive sales

High street chain The Works enjoyed a sales lift over the festive period after fending off higher costs and shipping delays.

The firm, which specialises in books, crafts and stationery products, said sales in the 11 weeks to January 16 were up 9 per cent compared with the same period two years ago, prior to the pandemic.

Most of the growth came in online sales, which were up 71.9 per cent in the period, with just 0.6 per cent growth in store sales.

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Shoppers were particularly keen on buying books for adults and branded children’s products like Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol.

The Works distinctive and colourful stores are a familiar sight on Scottish high streets and in shopping centres. Picture: Michael Gillen

Richard Osman’s novel The Man Who Died Twice, branded board games including Scrabble, and fidget toys were also flagged as driving growth.

The company also pointed out that shoppers chose to buy Christmas gifts earlier last year to avoid disappointment from shipping delays.

The firm said: “Sales in the week immediately prior to Christmas were less affected than we expected by concerns relating to the rapid development of the Omicron variant.

“Meanwhile, our proactive management of the supply chain ensured that we had adequate stock despite some of it arriving later than planned.

“Due to the strong sales during November and December, terminal stock levels were low, reducing the need for significant markdown in the January sale.”

Chief executive Gavin Peck said: “We delivered a record Christmas, demonstrating the increasing appeal of our customer offer and despite uncertainty over the impact of Omicron and the ongoing supply chain challenges faced throughout our sector.

“We are now a much stronger business than we were two years ago and believe that delivering on our refocused strategy will have a transformational effect on our business.”

The update was a marked shift from November, when the company revealed it suffered significant high costs from shipping and delays in the supply chain.

Investors were also given an overview of sales in the six months to October 31, with The Works revealing that sales jumped 30.6 per cent to £116.1 million compared with the same period last year. Pre-tax losses were cut to £1m compared with £4.3m a year earlier.

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