ScS has reported a positive start to its new financial year, with 14 weeks of strong order intake growth to 31st October (up +31.7% LFL, YoY).

As expected, the Welsh firebreak and second lockdown currently in operation in England has impacted trading over recent weeks, with temporary store closures (seven in Wales from 23rd October to 8th November, and 81 in England, from 5th November to 2nd December) leaving LFL order intake down -65.2% YoY for the first three weeks of November.

"Trading since the second lockdown commenced has been similar to that experienced during the initial lockdown, where, given the tactile nature of our products, the majority of customers waited until stores re-opened to try our product in person before making their purchasing decision," reads a statement from ScS. "Unlike the first national lockdown, and in line with Government guidelines, our regional distribution centres have remained operational and continue to deliver goods to our customers."

ScS says it is "encouraged by the trading pattern the group experienced following the first lockdown, when the business benefited from significant pent-up demand and an increased level of investment by UK consumers in their homes", but cannot say with certainty that this will be repeated over the winter months.

As of 21st November, the group's cash balance totalled £113m, with no debt, and further liquidity available through a £20m CLBILS revolving credit facility.

"Despite the uncertainty, the focus on our value-led proposition has proved successful to date and we are confident it will continue to appeal to consumers who want to buy great products at the lowest possible price."

In related news, ScS has appointed Steve Carson as group CEO, to lead the business following David Knight’s planned retirement next year (see related).