Ahead of its AGM last week, ScS reported total two-year LFL order growth of +0.9% for the 16 weeks ended 20th November 2021, with a one-year LFL order reduction of -10.6% following "an unprecedented period of pent-up demand at the beginning of the prior year".

As previously reported, the group had a strong start to the year, resulting in two-year LFL order intake growth for the first nine weeks. However, over the last seven weeks, the group saw a reduction in store footfall and conversion, with consumers spending less on big-ticket discretionary purchases.

"This appears to be driven by a change in behaviour, with consumers shopping earlier for Christmas when compared with previous years," stated ScS. "The extended product lead times currently being experienced across the furniture and wider retail industry are also having an impact on current purchasing trends."

As of 20th November, the group's order book was £131.9m (£71.5m above the same point two years ago). 

ScS' online business  continues to perform well, with two-year LFL order growth for the first 16 weeks of the year of +38.5%.

"The group is now preparing for the winter sales trading period, and whilst it remains difficult to predict shopping habits and consumer engagement, the business is planning to approach this key period in a manner consistent with that which has proven successful in previous years," states ScS. "We continue to work closely with our existing suppliers to mitigate current supply chain challenges. To broaden our customer proposition, we have recently partnered with new UK suppliers so that we can offer furniture on shorter lead times. 

"We believe our continued focus on a promotional, value-led proposition will remain attractive to our target market, and the board looks forward to the future with continued confidence."