Sunderland furniture firm ScS sitting pretty thanks to soaring sales

ScS chief executive David Knight, pictured top left, and the team celebrate opening the retailer's 96th store.
ScS chief executive David Knight, pictured top left, and the team celebrate opening the retailer's 96th store.
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FURNITURE retailer ScS has committed its future to Wearside as it unveils soaring sales.

The Sunderland-based firm’s half-year results show total like-for-like sales up almost eight per cent and flooring sales orders up 13 per cent.

Total sales jumped 14.5 per cent to £132million and gross profit increased 13.2 per cent to £57.4million.

The firm recorded an operating loss (excluding exceptional items) of £5.2million for the first six months of the financial year, up from £3.4million, but CEO David Knight said the figures reflected the cost of advertising and establishing new concessions in House of Fraser stores.

“We are particularly pleased with these results, they are very much in line with what we expected,” he said.

“We spend a lot of money on advertising during the January sales, which is covered by this period, but we don’t actually see the results of that until we deliver on the orders.”

The rise in flooring – a new venture – was particularly pleasing, he said.

“It is a £1.7billion market and we currently have a two per cent share from a standing start, which is really good.”

The move into 30 House of Fraser stores had allowed the firm to tap into a new customer base, but it would not be an instant win.

“There are retail park customers and there are department store customers,” said Mr Knight. “That is going to take some time to mature because it is something House of Fraser have not focused on for a long time.”

ScS employs around 200 people on Wearside, has its head office in Villiers Street and there are no plans to move.

“We have a fantastic workforce at our head office in Sunderland, a lot of whom have been with us for a long time,” said Mr Knight. “We have a lot of well-established people there.”

Today’s figures continue a resurgence in ScS’ fortunes after the firm became one of the first High Street names to fall victim to the recession.

In summer 2008, the company saw its credit guarantees withdrawn after “particularly disappointing” sales over the May Bank holiday weekend.

The group was saved by venture capital specialist Sun European Partners in a deal which saw parent company ScS Upholstery plc go into administration and A Share and Sons Ltd – the trading arm which actually runs the company’s stores – sold.

The move provided the support to get ScS through the downturn and the company’s rebirth was so successful that it returned to the Stock Market earlier this year.