Hobbycraft’s online sales triple in lockdown as pandemic inspires home crafting boom

Like-for-like online sales increased by more than 200 per cent

Sarah Young@sarah_j_young
Monday 03 August 2020 10:29
Sewing scrubs for NHS staff

Hobbycraft has emerged from the coronavirus lockdown in a “strong position” after online sales tripled amid the pandemic.

The arts and crafts retailer, which has 100 stores across the UK, said like-for-like online sales increased by more than 200 per cent during the 12-week lockdown period.

It added that the rise is largely due to a boom in home crafting, which saw people take up new interests such as sewing, scrapbooking and cross stitch.

Hobbycraft said there had been “exceptional levels of customer demand” over the last few months and that interest in arts and crafts has “remained strong” in stores since they reopened.

The retailer also announced that it is permanently moving its popular craft demonstrations and workshops online as part of its post-coronavirus adjustment.

Chief executive Dominic Jordan said it has been “pleased” with its performance over the past year.

“We continue to execute our strategy with improvements in product ranges supporting multi-channel growth,” Jordan said.

“Our broad range of products continues to evolve with more specialist materials and newness, ensuring that we satisfy the needs of craft enthusiasts and stay ahead of the competition.

“Our resolute focus on the strategy will see us bring further product innovation and inspiration, a new approach to online demonstrations and workshops, new stores and further investment in our e-commerce platform to support future growth.”

Despite the rise in online sales, the company said that having to close all of its stores during lockdown had a significant impact.

“During this time the retailer experienced exceptional levels of customer demand, with sales growing in excess of 200 per cent LFL [like-for-like] and our craft classes reaching over 15 million customers,” Hobbycraft said.

“The impact of Covid-19 presents new challenges and will undoubtedly change the shape of the UK retail sector. However, the business has emerged from the March-June lockdown in a strong position and is now well placed to withstand the longer-term impacts of the pandemic and drive further growth.”

Total revenue for the company increased by 8.9 per cent to £193.6m for the year ending 16 February – before the Covid-19 crisis – and online sales grew by 19 per cent over the same period.

Previously, Hobbycraft reported that the number of people visiting the ideas page of its website had tripled since the lockdown began.

Its “50 sewing projects for beginners” blog post proved to be the most popular post with searches for sewing machines, fabric and thread up 155 per cent, 60 per cent and 310 per cent, respectively compared to the six weeks before.

Among the top emerging craft trends that emerged during lockdown, Hobbycraft said crochet was the most popular with searches up 140 per cent, followed by macramé (134 per cent) and brush lettering (70 per cent).

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