Ramsdens delivers 'resilient' performance in challenging conditions

Ramsdens Holdings PLC, the diversified financial services provider and retailer, today said it had delivered a 'resilient' trading performance in challenging conditions.

Peter Kenyon

Ramsdens Holdings has announced a pre-close trading update for the six months ended 31 March 2021.

The statement said: "The group delivered a resilient performance during the period. The stronger restrictions imposed since we last updated the market in December 2020 significantly reduced high street footfall and the additional international travel restrictions further weakened demand for foreign currency exchange."

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"Against this backdrop, the group maintained a prudent approach to controlling costs and protecting resources, whilst operating almost 90% of the Ramsdens store estate in a COVID-secure way to safeguard staff and customers. We have continued to invest in our online jewellery retail proposition, where revenue has more than doubled year on year."

As a result of these dynamics, the board anticipates reporting a small loss for the period but still traded cash positively, the statement said.

The group's balance sheet and liquidity remains strong with cash of approximately £15m at the period end and an undrawn revolving credit facility of £10m, the statement added.

Peter Kenyon, CEO of Ramsdens commented: "We are pleased with the group's resilient performance despite the ongoing difficult trading conditions - testament to the strengths of Ramsdens' diversified business model.

"We are encouraged by the vaccine roll out, the expected re-opening of non-essential retail in England next week and the most recent UK Government announcements on international leisure travel as 'sticking to the road map'.

"Whilst the lack of current detail regarding certain country restrictions and quarantine conditions means we are unable to provide guidance for this summer's FX trading, we do believe there is significant underlying consumer demand for international summer travel which is encouraging.

"Subject to no changes to the expected easing of social restrictions, we believe that our next financial year should see more normal trading patterns return and therefore anticipate opening new stores over the next six months as part of our long-term growth strategy.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Ramsdens team for their continued dedication to serving our local communities throughout the pandemic."

Headquartered in Middlesbrough, the group operates from 157 stores within the UK and has a growing online presence. Ramsdens employs 85 staff in 26 stores in Yorkshire.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, last year Mr Kenyon said the company's shops Barnsley and Rotherham are set to be relocated in early 2021, and there had been positive trading in York, Leeds, Keighley and Bradford.

He said there are no plans to open new stores in Yorkshire, although the firm will revisit its growth plans "when we have a sense of normality".