Strong Christmas trading was reported in figures for UK sales in the four months to the end of December that were reported at the group’s annual meeting.
Character Group enjoyed a strong Christmas trading period, where sales climbed 25% over the same period in 2019. International sales over the festive period were also significantly higher than in 2019, with sales to the USA featuring particularly well.
In a trading update ahead of the group’s annual meeting, which was held on Friday 22nd January, the company stated: “All of our major brands and hero lines have sold exceptionally well. Coupled with the judicious approach to purchases made for the UK market for the commencement of this calendar year, this has resulted in the group’s inventory at December 31st, 2020 being at its lowest level for over a decade.”
The trading statement continued: “Despite the extended lockdowns and logistical difficulties that have arisen from container shortages, delays with shipping from the Far East, congestion at UK ports and the fall-out from Brexit, underlying profitability for the six months ending February 28th will be significantly higher than for the same period last year.”
However, the company was optimistic about the situation going forward, despite recognising ongoing challenges. “Looking beyond this, we expect the second half year of this financial year to be challenging due to the continuance of the lockdowns, restrictions and the continuing effect that the logistical difficulties are having on freight rates from the Far East (at times quadrupling since September, 2020). Assuming no further worsening of these conditions, the board believes the group will achieve current market expectations for the year ending 31st August 2021.”