Crawshaws sees fall in like-for-like sales

Butchery chain Crawshaws has reported a reduction in its like-for-like sales, although this has been softened by further strengthening of gross margin. 

The group experienced suppressed footfall caused by a combination of the international football, weather, and the EU referendum result in early summer, which has continued to impact the firm.

Despite difficult conditions, the group said it was acting quickly to restore sales momentum and was confident this could be achieved in time for Christmas.

“Over the last year or so we have actively sought to rationalise range, reduce the number of price-led promotions and drive higher-margin lines, and the strategy has worked well,” said the group.

“However, with our customers now being even more price-focused post-Brexit, and with the supermarkets recently launching some aggressive meat promotions, we are reacting to ensure we maintain the value-led approach that has proved successful in the past. This includes introducing more local choice and lower price point packs.”

Although the same factors have impacted the sales performance of the new stores, it is believed the same stores will benefit from the initiatives mentioned above.  

Crawshaws said it was particularly pleased with it new standalone factory outlet store format, which has been outperforming the high street format quite significantly, as do the three mature outlets. The fit-out costs are lower per square foot and property and running costs are very low, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation are “excellent”.

Due to the nature of the factory being out of town, it is not dependent on local footfall. Capitalising on this, the group is reviewing its store roll-out strategy with a view to adding more of these types of openings in the overall new store opening pipeline.

“We are confident our actions can restore sales momentum, and we will be prepared to invest in margin to drive sales and sharpen our value proposition.

“We are disappointed with current trading and clearly the outlook for the full year will depend upon the result of our actions, upon trading the important peak winter and festive season, and upon the timing of our store openings.”

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