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.
The independent business, headquartered in South Wales, offers homewares and home improvement products at its six department stores.
The group said that ‘whilst consumer confidence remains fragile’ it has capitalised on the increased activity in the housing market, which has helped deliver 8% like-for-like sales growth in its retail division.
Leekes recently invested heavily in a brand-led marketing campaign including a TV commercial supplemented by a radio campaign, inserts in national press titles, newspaper and magazine advertisements and a range of digital activity.
As a result, 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 all achieved double-digit sales growth.
Emma Leeke, managing director of Leekes Retail, commented: “We’ve 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’re 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.”
Meanwhile, Leekes claims that its Coventry branch was home to the largest Christmas tree in the Midlands over the festive period. Complete with over 1,200 individual baubles and 2,000 lights, the tree was transformed into Santa’s Sweet Factory Grotto which children visited every weekend in the run-up to Christmas (with all proceeds donated to Tommy’s, a charity that funds medical research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth and provides information on having a healthy pregnancy).Dedicated Christmas displays and demonstrations also featured throughout the store, giving inspiration for Christmas cooking, table decoration, and gifts.