ProCook chief executive Lee Tappenden has said he is “cautiously optimistic” about Christmas trading following a strengthened Black Friday performance.

Three ProCook pots on a stove

ProCook chief executive says he is ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the retailer’s outlook

The cookware retailer reported a £1.7m underlying loss before tax, improving on the £2.8m in the first half of last year, but this was boosted by Black Friday and pre-Christmas trading.

ProCook’s plan for growth has been in the works for a while and Tappenden, who took on the role of chief executive in October, said one of the major improvements it has worked on has been its website.

“We had website teething issues for a while and we’ve resolved this now,” Tappenden told Retail Week. 

“The website has been a very big focus for us and we made sure the website performed well over Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

“We’ve seen that momentum continue on Black Friday, into the last few weeks of trading, both in stores and online.”

ProCook now expects to see golden quarter trading and improvements to its strategy become apparent in the next trading update.

“From a profitability point of view, we expect to break even in the £1m range, which would be where we would see the performance on profitability,” Tappenden said.

Increasing brand awareness

While the retailer is improving on its strategy to return to profit, ProCook still has very low brand awareness at around 10%.

Tappenden said the low brand awareness is “still one of our biggest challenges” but he is hopeful this can change.

“New store openings help us with brand awareness, but I think the other piece for us is really making sure that we have much more clarity around our digital marketing strategy and leveraging social media much more than we have in the past,” he said.

“I think this will be an opportunity for us to engage with customers, influencers and online communities, for ProCook to be an emotional positive purchase you engage with as you cook. 

“So, for me, that’s one of the biggest opportunities: combining new store openings and then social media to get the brand name and credentials out there in a much quicker way.”