Arts and crafts retailer HobbyCraft is to launch an own-brand value range next year as it continues its attempt to appeal to the increasingly value-conscious consumer.
HobbyCraft chief executive Catriona Marshall said in a “challenging trading environment” customers were seeking out more bargains. Under Marshall’s leadership the retailer has begun realigning its pricing stance to make it more competitive, and the new value range, which has a working title of HC1, is part of that programme.
Marshall said HobbyCraft could continue to benefit from the “positive trend” in the arts and crafts sector, if it was “sensitive to pricing”.
HobbyCraft posted an 18% surge in EBITDA to £14.4m in the 52 weeks to February 20. Turnover increased by 12.8% to £95.2m. Marshall declined to give like-for-likes for the year but said trading since year end was delivering “consistent growth” with like-for-likes in positive territory.
In its first full year under the ownership of private equity firm Bridgepoint, the retailer has initiated a “number of operational changes”, including the appointment of Marshall, former Pets at Home trading and marketing director, as chief executive.
The retailer has also launched a new store format since year end, which aims to appeal to a younger customer base.
It will plough £2m into new IT systems in the next 18 months, and will revamp its supply chain, with a view to moving from three separate distribution centres to one, allowing it to scale up.
The 53-store retailer wants to have a total of 100 shops over the next three years.
“The key thing is to drive top-line sales,” said Marshall. “We’re making a big effort on the customer proposition, and have been proactive on customer service. We want to make our stores more exciting.”
HobbyCraft has harnessed the power of social media, launching on Facebook and Twitter in recent months. “We’ve noticed that people who are into arts and crafts are really into online,” said Marshall.
It will also revamp its website next spring. “We recognise it’s a big opportunity,” said Marshall.