Wilko says a series of ‘one off costs’ are behind pre-tax loss of more than £65 million which was revealed in its annual results.
Wilko, which has its headquarters in Worksop, has £36.5 million which have been classified as exceptional in the financial year and a further exceptional charge of £39.9 million was also incurred due to a notional loss on some foreign exchange derivatives relating to dollar purchasing.
However, the company also reported a strong underlying performance for the year, which ended on February 3, as sales rose 7.1 per cent to £1.6 billion helped by significant growth in the company’s online business and an increase in demand for Wilko brand products.
Like-for-like sales rose for a third consecutive year and were up 3.7 percent, while earnings increased by 2.7 per cent to £50.2 million.
Wilko reported a fourth consecutive year of accelerating store openings with 20 new outlets being added to the estate during the year, taking the total estate to 416 stores.
Sean Toal, Chief Operating Officer of Wilkinson Hardware Stores Limited, said: “Despite the tough trading environment, we have grown the business and won more customers as they are attracted to the quality and value of our offer. Our online business is growing rapidly and the popularity of our own brand products is rising and surpassed £1 billion of sales in the year.”
As in the prior year, the group saw continued growth in its online business with over 47 per cent increase in sales achieved during the year.
The website also posted significant uplift in both visits and conversions with Wilko’s Order and Collect service proving an important growth area.
The last year reflected another strong year for Wilko brand products which now represent more than 50 per cent of total sales.
Mr Toal added: “Our significant investment in IT infrastructure is beginning to bear fruit and we are transforming the business as our customers demand more both in terms of quality and value. We are excited about the future and look forward to taking the business to its next stage of growth.
“While we have taken some exceptionals during the year, the business is now set up to be in good shape as we undertake our new strategy for growth.
“We are excited about the new opportunities that lie ahead of us and look forward to bringing better value, and better quality designed products our customers.”
A new strategy has been set out to ensure the business has a strong underlying position and the company is well prepared, known as ‘Shape Our Future 2030.’