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Craft boom drives Hobbycraft sales up

Posted on in Business News, Creative News

Hobbycraft has seen its full year sales increase by 7.6% to £151.8 million thanks to a boom in arts and crafts, and home baking.

The arts and crafts retailer enjoyed a near 5% rise in sales following the opening of new stores across the country, as well as customer demand growing thanks to programmes such as the BBC's The Great British Bake Off, The British Sewing Bee and The Great Pottery Throwdown, inspiring both adults and children to get more creative.
"TV is a catalyst that kicks it off, then social media takes off afterwards and it gets its own momentum," said Catriona Marshall, chief executive of Hobbycraft.

She said young adults were increasingly being inspired to have a go at traditional crafts such as sewing, knitting or crochet by seeing items they wanted on social media sites such as Instagram and Pinterest.

Sales of sewing machines rose 11% over the year after a 30% increase the year before while sales of thread increased 30% as a new generation of people picked up skills their grandparents would have been familiar with from YouTube videos. "It has skipped a generation," Marshall said.

Marshall said Hobbycraft had been able to capitalise on demand by cutting prices and improving its distribution and supply chain as well as finding better ways to communicate with customers. The group now has a 1.9 million-strong Hobbycraft Club, as well as a new initiative which helps fans share their creations online.

Despite troubles elsewhere on the high street, the £3bn UK craft market is currently growing by 4.5% a year.
Marshall said: "Three years of business transformation and investment in infrastructure are paying off. Strong growth was driven by our newly-created distribution centre and supply chain initiatives, together with an expanding store network and established online trading platform. Sales reached record levels, growing for the sixth consecutive year to £151.8 million and with an increase in like for like sales at store level."

Selling online is also helping to boost sales. Hobbycraft's website increased sales by 36.4% over the year and Marshall said it was keeping up that pace of growth. Next month the company will begin selling abroad via its website as it aims to build online sales above the current 7% proportion.

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