ProCook has swung to a half-year loss after suffering a slide in sales against tough comparatives. 

ProCook Tottenham Court Rd

ProCook has reported a pre-tax loss of £3.5m during the 28 weeks to October 16

The kitchenware specialist posted a reported pre-tax loss of £3.5m during the 28 weeks to October 16, compared with a £2.4m profit the previous year. Its underlying pre-tax loss of £2.8m compared with a £3.8m profit during the same period in 2021.

ProCook’s gross margin fell from 66.6% a year ago to 61% as cost pressures, including increases in shipping, dented its bottom line. 

Revenues slipped 14.5% to £27.4m amid what the retailer called “challenging trading conditions”.

The business said that, despite the impact of squeezed consumer spending and the hot summer weather, like-for-like sales remained at more than double their pre-pandemic levels.

Despite the squeeze on its top and bottom lines, ProCook hailed “good strategic progress” and insisted that it was continuing to outperform the wider kitchenware market.

The business attracted 320,000 new customers during the six-month period – a slight uptick on the 319,000 it lured during the same period a year ago.

Its active customer base has increased 36.5% during the past 12 months to surpass 1 million.

ProCook added that, in the first eight weeks of its second half – including Black Friday – revenue has “significantly improved”. However, it conceded that sales remained “weaker than we anticipated”, falling 5.7% year on year.

Revenue raked in from its stores inched up 0.7% during that period, but ecommerce sales fell 12.6%. ProCook attributed more than half of that decline to its exit from EU marketplaces.

The retailer issued a profit warning last week amid the tough trading conditions and now expects to break even on an underlying pre-tax profit basis.

But it insisted that a plan to slash operating costs by £3m and “maximise our trading performance and profitability” would allow it to “emerge stronger from this difficult trading environment”.

ProCook founder and chief executive Daniel O’Neill said: “This has been a difficult trading period, reflecting the wider consumer environment and also a very strong comparable period in our last financial year.

“However, ProCook has traded through tough conditions in the past and we remain confident in our specialist offer and ability to continue taking long-term decisions to build a stronger and more sustainable business.

“We are taking cost actions to manage the current pressures and the business remains well placed to capture increased share of the large kitchenware market and deliver long-term growth and value to all stakeholders.”