Findel has posted “strong results” for the financial year including increases in profits and sales, as the board proposes changing its name at the next AGM.
The online value retail group posted a 33% increase in profit before tax to £29.4m in the 52 weeks to March 29, 2019, and an increase in group revenue of 5.7% to £506.8m.
The retailer’s subsidiary Studio, formerly Express Gifts, was the driver behind the group’s performance, “producing strong growth in customer numbers, sales and profits”.
Studio posted a 7.8% uptick in revenue driven by an increase in its active customer base to 1.9 million, as well as a higher spend per customer.
The retailer said “improvements to sourcing” and a “focus on retail profitability” helped product margins widen by 170 basis points to 32.2%, and gross profits increase 13.8% to £98.8m.
The online value retail group said given the strength of the Studio subsidiary brand, the board would propose changing the name of the business from Findel to Studio Retail Group at its next annual general meeting.
Findel boss Phil Maudsley said: “We spent £40m on the Studio brand. Findel PLC means nothing to our customers. We changed Express Gifts earlier on in the year because that meant nothing to customers.
“I look at other retailers like Boohoo. Boohoo is Boohoo. We want to keep the business simple. Studio is going to be Studio. We’ve got to build that brand awareness. It’s absolutely essential to us.”
With plans to increase its customer base to three million and with its sights set on a billion pounds in turnover, Maudsley said the “strategy in place will facilitate that.”
”I’m not going to put a timeline on that but I think its important that two years ago when I took this job and when Stuart [Caldwell] was appointed [as chief financial officer] the clear messages we got from shareholders was just deliver and do what you say you’re going to do.
“This is the second year of consistent delivery. The first year we were 21% up in PBT and this year we delivered 18%. That’s why increasing the customer base and investing in the business.”
“These strong results reflect the clear transformation of the group into a digital-first, value-led retailer.
“In particular, Studio has prospered in current market conditions. We have rapidly grown the active customer base to 1.9 million over the last three years, with new customers drawn to the incredible value we offer, while existing customers are shopping with us more frequently and across wider ranges.
“We look ahead with confidence and ambition, as shown by our proposed name change to Studio Retail Group. We remain focused on our customers’ needs and our investment in digital technologies and delivering on our strategic objectives will underpin profitable growth over the medium term.”