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The Works reports strong growth, confirms return of dividend

By Josh White

Date: Friday 20 May 2022

The Works reports strong growth, confirms return of dividend

(Sharecast News) - Discount books and stationery retailer The Works reported a "strong" full-year trading performance on Friday, with two-year like-for-like sales rising 10.4%, and total two-year sales growth coming in at 12.7%.
The London-listed firm said its "improved proposition" helped to offset external headwinds, with the board reiterating its EBITDA expectations for the 52 weeks ended 1 May of £15m.

It said it was in a "strong" financial position, with net cash of £16.3m at year-end, an increase of £15.5m over the year.

The board also said it was reinstating the dividend, expecting to recommend a distribution of 2.4p per share alongside its full-year results in September and maintain a progressive dividend policy thereafter.

"We are pleased to report strong trading in the 2022 financial year, consistently delivering sales well ahead of pre-Covid levels and another record Christmas," said chief executive officer Gavin Peck.

"This performance, and the resilience that our business has shown against a challenging external backdrop, demonstrates the positive effect of our 'better, not just bigger' strategy, which still has a lot more upside to deliver.

"We are delighted that our improved trading performance will enable us to recommend reinstating the dividend and remain optimistic that we can deliver further sales growth in the year ahead."

Peck said that as the company moved into its new financial year, general trading conditions remained "challenging".

"We will continue to focus on the factors within our control and ensure that, as customers face increasing cost-of-living pressures, they can continue to rely on The Works as a destination for great value products to inspire reading, learning, creativity and play."

The board also said the "cybersecurity incident" in April had a "limited impact" on trading, but had prompted the decision to "significantly" speed up plans to strengthen the firm;s IT security measures.

Given the additional time needed to implement the improvements, the group said it was planning to allow more time to finalise its full-year results, which would be issued during September.

At 0943 BST, shares in TheWorks.co.uk were up 13.71% at 57.14p.

Reporting by Josh White at Sharecast.com.

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