Crawshaw like-for-like sales down

Crawshaw, the fresh meat and food-to-go retailer, says it continued to build on the progress noted in its last update with the improvements in sales and customer numbers being maintained through December as planned.

roup sales were up 13% in the 5 week period versus the prior year, with total customer numbers also up 13% for the same period.

Like-for-like sales were -3.8% for the 5 weeks ended 1 January 2017 having improved from -8.1% for the 4 weeks ended 27 November 2016.

Like-for-like customer numbers were -4.2% having improved from -9.7% for the same periods. As previously communicated, this improvement in both sales and customer number momentum has required a moderate level of margin investment, with gross margins in the like-for-like stores at 43.6% H2 2017 to date (versus 44.9% H2 2016 to date). With the improvement in performance continuing through the festive trading period, the board remains confident in achieving full year market expectations. Chief executive Noel Collett said: "We continue to be encouraged by the customer response to the recent changes we've made which have translated into further progress over the festive trading period. Our new hamper range was particularly well received with almost 3,000 hampers sold in the Christmas week. Our focus will continue to be centred on anchoring our value credentials and we will step up our marketing activity to maintain our current momentum in building customer frequency and loyalty."

The group also announced that Kevin Patrick Boyd will leave the business by mutual consent with immediate effect. All meat trading and buying responsibility has been transferred to Mick Charles, who has been promoted to the position of Head of Buying and Supply Chain. He joined the Crawshaws Senior Team in November 2014, bringing 35 years of meat industry experience and expertise.

Chairman Richard Rose said: "On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Kevin for his loyalty and commitment in his 25 years of service and wish him well for the future. We would also like to congratulate Mick on his promotion, his wealth of meat buying experience has already played a significant role in the recent improvements in sales performance."