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Robert Dyas reports 3.3% LFL sales increase

Homewares and hardware chain Robert Dyas, acquired by retail entrepreneur Theo Paphitis last month, has revealed a rise in sales but a fall in profits in its full year.

In the 53 weeks to March 31, like-for-likes were up 3.3%, while EBITDA fell from £4.1m to £2.8m.

Turnover increased 2.2% to £105.9m. Sales had not risen at the business since 2009, when they grew 1.3%.

Robert Dyas chief executive Graham Coles told Retail Week: “What we were seeking to do was reverse the sales trend. We’re pleased with the sales results in a difficult retail environment.”

Coles said that the last eight months of the period were particularly strong, with like-for-likes up between 5% and 6%. Online sales in the year surged 30%.

In the first three months of the current year Coles said Robert Dyas was “just ahead” on like-for-likes after wet weather hit seasonal lines. However, he added that as the sun shone in July, like-for-likes are up “almost double digit” in the month.

Coles said that the wet weather last summer accounted for most of the EBITDA decline, as sales in seasonal products fell.

However, he expected profits to return to growth in the current year at the 96-store retailer.

“We’re anticipating the growth in sales will continue so we’re hoping that will flow through to the bottom line,” he said.

The retailer was forced into conducting a life-saving debt for equity swap with its bank in 2009. Paphitis, who also owns Rymans and Boux Avenue, bought Robert Dyas last month in a deal thought to be worth £10m.

Coles added that Paphitis’ purchase gives Robert Dyas a sound financial footing.

“The transaction with Theo provides us with a number of investment opportunities,” said Coles. “He brings a different perspective. I’m sure Theo will challenge us but we will benefit from his expertise.

“We had £20m bank debt four weeks ago, now we have zero. We’re in a financially strong position.”

Paphitis said: “I would like to thank all Robert Dyas colleagues for the commitment and effort they put into every part of the business.

“Their contribution - in particular in providing an excellent customer experience - is vital to the continued success of the business and I look forward to working with all stakeholders for a brighter future.”

Source : Nicola Harrison – Retail Week
www.retail-week.com

01 August 2012
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