ScS, Sunderland sofa firm, sees orders growth

Shares of Sunderland-based furniture and floorings retailer ScS Group rose as much as 11% on Thursday after it published a “strong” full-year trading update for the 53 weeks ended July 31, 2021, and an outlook for FY22 ahead of market expectations.

“As noted in our previous update on 16 June, the current and prior year have been impacted by regional and national store closures across the UK as a result of COVID-19,” said ScS.

“Encouragingly, when our stores have been open performance has been strong, with the final seven weeks of the year seeing like-for-like orders growth of 23.7% when compared to 2019.

“The same period in the prior year benefited from strong pent up demand following the re-opening of our stores in May 2020 after the first national lockdown.

Despite our stores being closed for 17 weeks in the FY21 year, our full year like-for-like order intake was down only 6.5% on 2019.

At 31 July 2021, the group’s order book was £103.5m (including VAT), £1.2m lower than at the same point in the prior year and £60.6m higher than at the same point in 2019.

The group’s financial position remains robust, with cash at 31 July 2021 of £87.7m and no debt.”

In its outlook, ScS said: “The board is encouraged by the strong trading performance since reopening and therefore believes that the group is in a strong position as we enter the new financial year.

“The next few months still hold a level of uncertainty, with the tone of government messaging at present being one of caution.

“However, given recent trading and the strength of the current order book, the board’s expectations for FY21 and FY22 are ahead of current market forecasts.”