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ScS sees recent orders rise 

ScSfrontScS has postponed the publication of its financial results in the wake of the Government’s updated advice on coronavirus but says orders had risen in recent weeks.

Like for like orders rose by 3.3% in the seven weeks to 14 March, compared to a fall of 4.4% in the previous six months.

The chain says it hopes to publish its results this week but expects to maintain its interim dividend.

‘Trading has strengthened since our market update on 29 January 2020, with like-for-like order intake in the last seven weeks growing 3.3%. This is a significant improvement on trading for the first 26 weeks of the year, which had a like-for-like order intake decline of 4.4%. This has resulted in a like-for-like order intake decrease of 3.0% for the 33 weeks ended 14 March 2020,’ says David Knight, ScS ceo.

‘Whilst consumer confidence remains low, the Group has been successful in sustaining profitable growth and increasing its resilience. Trading in the early part of the year was particularly challenging. However, the improvement and return to growth seen over the key winter sales period and for the first six weeks of the second half was encouraging. In the past week we have seen reduced footfall and we are mindful of the developing situation with COVID-19 and the potential impact on deliveries and demand. However, we believe the group is as well positioned as it can be.

‘We cannot predict the impact that COVID-19 might have on the group's business. Management has considered severe but plausible downside sensitivity scenarios but these do not include the most severe of possibilities, for example, the group's stores being forced to close for a prolonged period. Further details in relation to the impact COVID-19 may have on the group will be set out in the interim financial statements.’