ScS resumes payout as orders surge after UK lockdown eases

(Alliance News) - ScS Group PLC on Wednesday raised its annual outlook and resumed dividends ...

Alliance News 16 June, 2021 | 9:43AM
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(Alliance News) - ScS Group PLC on Wednesday raised its annual outlook and resumed dividends after the furniture retailer reported strong sales as it heads towards the final few weeks of its financial year.

ScS shares were 10% higher at 320.00 pence each in London on Wednesday morning.

The Sunderland-based company sells furniture and flooring from 100 stores across the UK. ScS stands for Sofa Carpet Specialist.

In the 46 weeks ended June 12, like-for-like order intake was 11% higher annually, though down 9.5% from financial 2019.

"The board is delighted to report that, following the reopening of our stores, performance has been very encouraging," the furniture retailer said.

For the current financial year, ending July 31, ScS expects its performance to be "ahead of market expectations". In addition, its outlook for the next financial year is "substantially" higher than market forecasts.

Its trading has been boosted by its online offering, where sales have risen 95% annually.

Although order intake is higher so far this financial year, ScS has seen periods of volatility, due to Covid-19 lockdowns.

In the first 21 weeks of the financial year, order intake was up 12%, though it dropped 65% between December 20 and January 23, weeks 22 and 26. For the whole of the first half, order intake was down 9.1% year-on-year.

After that, orders plunged 83% between January 24 and April 3. During the period, England was still under strict curbs under its third national lockdown.

Between April 4 and June 12, however, the company's fortunes dramatically improved. Order intake was up almost four-fold annually. ScS noted its Scottish stores reopened on April 5 and its English and Welsh stores on April 12. Sales in those 10 weeks were up 79% from 2019.

Due to its better performance, ScS declared a 3.0p per share interim payout. It did not pay a dividend in the last financial year.

ScS affirmed it repaid GBP3.0 million in UK furlough grants.

"The group has a robust balance sheet and the re-introduction of dividends today reflects the board's confidence in the business going forward," ScS added.

By Eric Cunha; ericcunha@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2021 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
Rating
ScS Group PLC 292.00 GBX -0.34 -

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