Findel plc, the online value retailer and education resources business, today issues a trading statement
having entered the close period for the 53 weeks ending 31st March 2017. Full-year results are expected to be announced in early June 2017.
The Group has seen strong sales growth and anticipates total like-for-like* sales growth for the full year to be around 10%. As highlighted in January's trading statement the rate of sales growth accelerated in the second half of the year.
Overall, the Group expects to report a profit before tax and exceptional items slightly below the bottom of the range of consensus **. Core net debt is expected to end the year at c. £80m, an improvement of around £5m on the prior year and slightly better than market expectations.
Within this, the Group's largest business, Express Gifts has had a strong year for customer and revenue growth. Total sales were up by 14%, within which product sales were up c16%. Customer growth increased by 21% for the first 13 weeks since the start of the calendar year.
As previously announced, Express Gifts has continued to invest in customer recruitment in the final quarter of the financial year for the first time, primarily promoting good value product purchased from the Far East in US$. This helped to drive the increases in sales and customer numbers, but has dampened the overall margin achieved from these sales due to exchange rates. Over 40% of our
established customers have also bought these products.
Findel Education has continued to see difficult market conditions for educational resources and expects to see full-year sales on a like-for-like basis* declining by around 4%.