While the homewares market continues to be resilient and the retailer is “materially outperforming the market”, it did not provide guidance for the rest of the year due to coronavirus (COVID-19) uncertainty.
In the 13 weeks to September 26, total sales jumped 37% to £359mln. Gross margin increased by 1% due to a lower proportion of discounted sales, reflecting strong demand as well as sourcing improvements.
For the full year, gross margin is predicted to be slightly ahead of 2020 barring any material further impacts as a result of pandemic-related disruption or restrictions.
Net cash at the end of the first quarter was £175mln as opposed to £24mln net debt a year ago, thanks to £80mln of exceptional working capital inflows.
The retailer also announced it will repay £14mln received under the government’s furlough scheme and will not claim more funds through further job retention schemes.
Analysts at house broker Peel Hunt upgraded full-year revenues by 9% to £1.3bn, implying first-half sales growth of 25% and full-year sales growth of 27.6%.
Shares dipped 3% to 1,515p on Thursday morning.
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