ScS has registered upticks in profits and sales as pent-up demand during the coronavirus crisis drove “record” first-half performance.

The furniture specialist recorded a pre-tax profit of £18m in the 26 weeks to January 23, compared with a £600,000 loss the previous year. Operating profit surged from £1.2m to £20m.

ScS received government support of £6.6m during the period through the furlough scheme and business rates relief, which helped cushion the impact of the pandemic on its bottom line.

The retailer’s total revenues increased 14% to £174m in its first half, while gross sales rose 14% to £182m.

ScS said sales were boosted by pent-up demand during June and July last year and an 81% spike in online sales to £18m. 

The business launched its MyScSLive video technology during the year, which allowed it to offer customers virtual shopping experiences. 

ScS said online sales had continued on an upward trajectory during the second half of its fiscal year so far. During the seven weeks to March 13, online orders more than doubled, surging 158%. 

However, its overall order intake tumbled 87% on a like-for-like basis during the same seven-week period as store closures impacted its top line. 

Outgoing ScS boss David Knight said he was “delighted” with its first-half performance, but cautioned: “With consumer confidence and the economic environment remaining uncertain, it is difficult to provide clarity on the group’s outlook for the weeks and months ahead.

“However, we remain cautiously optimistic as recent government announcements have provided further clarity on the anticipated reopening of our stores. 

“The business continues to adapt and respond to trading conditions, with increased focus on the development of our digital channels. We are confident that our underlying priority of providing an excellent customer experience with outstanding value, quality and choice, will continue to prove successful.”

Knight will be replaced as chief executive by former Holland & Barrett and Argos executive Steve Carson, who joined ScS in January.