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Satisfactory Christmas trading reports from Theo Paphitis Retail Group

Published: 16 January 2020 - John King

Theo Paphitis Retail Group has announced Financial Year End 2019 Results and provided a Christmas Trading Statement, which it describes as " aResilient Group performance amid challenging conditions".

In terms of year end summary:

Ryman: Total revenue increasing by 1.4% to £129.9m, delivering an increase in EBITDA of 6.5% to £8.2m (FY18: £7.7m) reflecting a focus on introduction of new categories, development of related services and customer engagement in store

Robert Dyas: Strong performance with total revenue increasing by 6.3% to £131.8m; EBITDA increased to £1.6m (FY18: £0.5m) reflecting strong online growth following introduction of new categories and a good performance in outdoor categories during summer peak

Boux Avenue: The business experienced challenging trading conditions throughout the year, which have continued post the period end, resulting in an ongoing strategic and operational review of the business.

In terms of Christmas sales there was a Like-for-like (LFL) sales decline of 1.3% comprised of positive sales at Robert Dyas, flat sales at Ryman and a reduction in sales at Boux Avenue. Online sales mix of total business increased to 21.8% for the Group, with Boux Avenue now approaching 50% of total sales and strong ecommerce growth at Ryman, London Graphic Centre and Robert Dyas.

Theo Paphitis said: “Looking back at the prior financial year and this Christmas, our Group has delivered a resilient performance in what has been the most challenging retail environment we have ever experienced, underpinned by consumer uncertainty and declines in footfall.

“I am pleased that Ryman and Robert Dyas, as heritage brands on our high streets, have traded well over the prior financial year. Both businesses put in good performances, growing sales and profits as they focused on strong retail execution and category development, both online and in store. Christmas trading was also creditable for both businesses.

“Although a small part of our overall Group, we were delighted to see the London Graphic Centre deliver remarkable LFL growth and online sales following its increased focus on product ranging, customer service and engagement, including the introduction of art-based activities in store.

 “Boux’s online sales performance during the Christmas period tells its own story, accounting for almost 50% of total retail sales.  As a greater proportion of fashion sales migrate online in the UK, it’s clear that the relevance of shopping centres to fashion retailing – and particularly Boux’s core demographic of 18-30 year old females – is dramatically different from what it was when we launched the business in 2011.  It is not a surprise, therefore, that trading has been most challenging in the majority of our 30 Boux Avenue shopping centre stores, which has contributed towards a double-digit decline in LFL sales in recent months.

“As I have previously said, the lack of reform and focus on business rates by the Government and other authorities continues to frustrate us and puts at risk one of the key sectors for the UK economy.

“However, I am a firm believer that both physical and online retail have a future and we are seeing that we are able to deliver further growth through our heritage brands, Ryman and Robert Dyas, through our ecommerce and other new channels. “


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