Hobbycraft

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Hobbycraft
Private
IndustryRetail, arts and crafts sector
Founded1995
HeadquartersChristchurch, Dorset, UK
Number of locations
94
Key people
Chief Executive, Dominic Jordan
Productsart, craft and hobbyist materials
Revenue£177.7M (2018/19) Increase
Number of employees
2,200 - 2019
Websitehobbycraft.co.uk

Hobbycraft is an arts and crafts superstore retail chain in the United Kingdom.[1][2] When the company started out, there were only small independent arts and crafts suppliers, however a number of other online and High Street retail chains now operate in the same market place as Hobbycraft.

History[edit]

Hobbycraft in High Wycombe
Hobbycraft in Tunbridge Wells, using the former logo

It was started by the Haskins Group, a nursery and garden supplier in the south of England, and was bought by investment group Bridgepoint in April 2010.[3][4] The first store opened in Dorset in 1995. There are currently 94 stores across the United Kingdom, the newest being in Banbury and Rushden Lakes, which opened in August and September 2018.[5]

The stores have been blamed for putting independent craft suppliers out of business, and the amount of choice for specific hobbies has been said to be not as good as in specialised stores.[6] HobbyCraft reported a 10% increase in sales in the beginning of 2010, and opened two new stores, with the chief executive saying arts and crafts are a low cost hobby and so he believes they will do well despite difficulties in the economy.[7][8]

In July 2012, the company made EBITDA of £15.6m, a 9% rise on the previous year.[9] In 2010 to 2011, Hobbycraft quickly brought in a new shipping system under the guidance of Hobbycraft IT Director, Mike Thomas a former supply chain director, IT and Business Development Director for the defunct Entertainment UK and Woolworths Group companies in which he had held active senior director/shareholder roles[10][11]

During the deployment of the new IT system, Hobbycraft management also decided to relocate the distribution centre operations from Blandford Forum to Burton-upon-Trent.[11][12] In October 2013, it was revealed that "Hobbycraft's pre tax profits fell from £11.5m to £6.3m last year after the company incurred exceptional costs of £2.8m, mostly as a result of the decision to relocate its distribution from Dorset to Staffordshire." [13]

In September 2014, it was revealed that Hobbycraft's profits had halved, due to chains such as Aldi, Lidl, Poundland, and online retailers such as Amazon moving into the craft market. Hobbycraft's CEO Catriona Marshall, was quoted as saying that the company's profits had been depressed by a £3m investment on a rented warehouse in Burton-upon-Trent, on which Hobbycraft took out a fifteen year lease.[14]

Marshall was directly quoted as saying "Our performance in 2013/14 reflects investment in infrastructure and the final stages of the programme to put in place our new supply chain and online trading platform. We are now using this investment to grow store sales and our online presence." [15][16][17]

At the start of December 2014, Bridgepoint brought in retail veteran Archie Norman in the hope of turning around the fortunes of the company.[18] On 8 December 2014, Catriona Marshall "admitted market conditions remain "difficult" and discounting its arts and craft supplies was becoming increasingly important to keep tills ringing.".

In May 2018, Hobbycraft announced the appointment of Matt Davies as its new chairman. Matt succeeded Archie Norman, who departed after over four years in the role and having played a key part in the transformation of the business.

Norman said: “Matt is a highly regarded and successful retailer who has worked with some of the UK’s best known retail brands. I wish him every success and know that he and Dominic will have a great impact on the continuing future growth of the business with the benefit of the major operational programme we have just completed.”

Davies added: “This is a unique business that I have followed for many years. I look forward to working with Dominic again and to working with the team to build on its success to make Hobbycraft an even greater place for crafters and enthusiasts alike.” [19]

Hobbycraft has hailed a successful transformation strategy after revealing rising revenues for the eighth consecutive year. In the twelve months to February 2018, the arts and crafts retailer saw revenue increase 6.4 per cent to £168.5 million. This was thanks to store growth of 2.3 per cent, and healthy online growth of 21.5 per cent, now representing 9.8 per cent of total revenues. [20]

2018 continued to deliver growth for the arts and craft retailer that reported a like-for-like store sales increase of 7.1 per cent over the six weeks leading to December 24, while online revenue climbed 28 per cent. Hobbycraft attributed the increase to a series of workshops across its near 100 outlets, which saw over 21,000 shoppers attend. [21]

In July 2019, Hobbycraft reported a 28% jump in adjusted EBITDA to £12.2m in the year to February 17, driven by a 5.4% boost in total revenue to £177.7m with ecommerce sales climbing 23% during the period. Hobbycraft ended the year with 3.9 million members of its loyalty card scheme also drove 100,000 customers in store through demos and workshops during FY2018/19.[22]

Chief executive Dominic Jordan said:“We are pleased with our performance and how our offer has improved over the past year. We continue to pursue our plans for multichannel growth as we target our strategy to improve the broader appeal of our brand. This is being achieved through leveraging our broad product range which meets the needs of core hobbyists, families and everyday makers, with a continued focus on delivering value to our customers.

Our focus remains on great customer service and colleague engagement as we seek to provide help and inspiration to customers in their local communities. Our in store workshop programme plays a key role where our colleagues demonstrate their incredible knowledge and passion for crafting whilst helping customers with their projects.

Looking ahead, whilst we expect the retail environment to remain challenging we are well placed to continue to execute our growth plans, with initial trading in the first quarter of this year ahead of the prior year.”

[edit]

Controversies[edit]

  • In May 2013, Queen's Hospital A&E department in Burton upon trent was closed down for three hours "in accordance with national guidance" after seven workers of Hobbycraft attended A&E and reported being covered with an unknown white powder. It was later shown to be inert.[24]
  • In September 2014, Hobbycraft made wide news headlines in the United Kingdom when non national staff were required to speak English at work, or face disciplinary action.[25][26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/pages/about%20us HobbyCraft website
  2. ^ "Latest news, insight and analysis on HobbyCraft". RetailWeek. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  3. ^ https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/bridgepoint-pays-pound100m-for-hobbycraft-stores-1958726.html
  4. ^ http://www.bridgepoint.eu/about-us/news-views/hobbycraft-acquired-bridgepoint
  5. ^ http://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/storefinder
  6. ^ [1] Time up for craft store
  7. ^ http://www.diyweek.net/news/news.asp?id=12001&title=Hobbycraft+expands+store+portfolio+ Hobbycraft expands store portfolio
  8. ^ http://www.toynewsmag.com/news/30934/Hobbycraft-boss-predicts-craft-explosion Hobbycraft boss predicts craft explosion
  9. ^ Holland, Tiffany (26 July 2012). "Hobbycraft to drive multichannel as profits rise". Retail Week. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  10. ^ "UK retailers MFI and Woolworths collapse". Wikinews. 28 November 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2015. Press Release, Woolworths (7 May 1996). "Woolworths Group PLC - Director/PDMR Shareholding". Woolworths. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  11. ^ a b Murphy, Margi (18 September 2014). "Hobbycraft reveals £2.8m exceptional costs after relocation". ComputerWorld. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  12. ^ Mail, Burton (10 December 2014). "BUSINESS: Burton plays part in Hobbycraft earnings drop". Burton Mail. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  13. ^ "Hobbycraft reveals £2.8m exceptional costs after relocation". Insider Media. 21 October 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  14. ^ "Hobbycraft takes 200,000sq ft Burton DC". Park Logistics. 2012. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  15. ^ Wood, Zoe (16 September 2014). "Hobbycraft's annual profits halve as supermarkets win price war". The Times. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  16. ^ Chapman, Matthew (16 September 2014). "Hobbycraft profits down after investment as it prepares loyalty card". Retail Week. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  17. ^ Jane, Sarah (23 September 2014). "Hobbycraft Profits Down After Investment in Retail Initiative". Craft Business. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  18. ^ Clark, Andrew (5 December 2014). "Norman gets a new toy to play with at Hobbycraft". The Times. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  19. ^ https://www.retailsector.co.uk/3890-hobbycraft-appoints-tesco-ceo-as-chairman/
  20. ^ http://www.retailgazette.co.uk/blog/2018/07/hobbycraft-posts-8th-consecutive-year-sales-growth
  21. ^ https://www.retailgazette.co.uk/blog/2019/01/hobbycraft-boasts-christmas-sales-boost/
  22. ^ https://www.retail-week.com/general-merchandise/hobbycraft-full-year-profits-surge-as-sales-rise/7032403
  23. ^ Ryan, John (9 June 2011). "HobbyCraft: Honing its Craft". Retail Week. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  24. ^ "Queen's Hospital A&E shuts in powder scare". BBC Stoke & Staffordshire. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  25. ^ Endley, Ben (14 February 2014). "Speak English or you're fired! Foreign workers banned from speaking their own language or told they face the sack". Daily Mail. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  26. ^ Russo, Sergio (16 September 2014). "Retailer Hobbycraft's foreign staff face disciplinary action if they speak in their own language". HR Review. Retrieved 7 April 2015.

External links[edit]