Leekes Retail & Leisure Group has reported a £1.5m improvement in profitability in the first half of its financial year, achieving an EBITDA of £2.3m for the period.
Whilst consumer confidence remains fragile, the group has capitalised on the increased activity in the housing market, which has helped it to deliver 8% like-for-like sales growth in its retail division. Leekes recently invested heavily in a brand-led marketing campaign aimed at promoting its unique home department store offer, which has included a new TV commercial supplemented by a radio campaign, inserts in national press titles, newspaper and magazine advertisements as well as a range of digital activity.
As a result of all these factors, particularly strong performances have been seen in the larger investment categories, typically linked to home-moving, such as fitted kitchens, where sales have grown by 30%, as well as the furniture departments, conservatories, windows and doors, and bathrooms, which have all achieved double-digit sales growth.
Emma Leeke, MD of Leekes Retail, comments: “We have continued to make substantial investment in our retail business over the last few years with the opening of our new flagship store in Coventry in 2012, a £1m modernisation programme at our Cross Hands store as well as the refurbishment of our furniture floors in our Melksham, Bilston and Llantrisant stores. We are delighted to see that this continuing investment is having a significant effect on both our sales and profitability and positions us perfectly to take advantage of the more active housing market.
"Our strong performance this year has continued to build with sales in November up by £1m. We are seeing growth across our wide range of categories, including further increases in our upholstery and bed departments, and are delighted to report good dining and bedroom furniture sales growth after a period of level sales. This continued and accelerating sales growth means that we can look forward to further improvements in profitability for the remainder of our financial year."