Hobbycraft reports 200% boom in online sales since start of pandemic

The British love affair with home crafting shows no sign of abating, according to Hobbycraft, which has reported a 200% boom in online sales since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

Hobbycraft, whose bestsellers include a giant set of 1,000 craft pieces for £6 and soap-making kits for £15, said there had been “exceptional levels of customer demand” during lockdown as customers confined to their homes looked to find their inner craftsperson.

It is moving its popular craft demonstrations and workshops online as part of its adjustment to the post-coronavirus world.

The company, which has 99 stores on high streets and retail parks including five that opened last year, said total revenue increased by 8.9% to £193.6m for the year ending 16 February – before the Covid-19 crisis. Online sales grew by 19% over the same period.

The company said the 12-week lockdown period, when all stores were closed, had a significant impact on total sales, despite the surge in online orders. During the pandemic, it has focused on fulfilling customers’ needs through its online business and through daily “kids craft club” classes on social media channels.

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“During this time the retailer experienced exceptional levels of customer demand, with sales growing in excess of 200% LFL [like-for-like] and our craft classes reaching over 15 million customers,” Hobbycraft said.

“The impact of Covid-19 presents new challenges and will undoubtedly change the shape of the UK retail sector. However, the business has emerged from the March-June lockdown in a strong position and is now well placed to withstand the longer-term impacts of the pandemic and drive further growth.”

During lockdown many Britons returned to the crafts and hobbies of their past as a way to fill their days – and in many cases to make their own protective masks. Sales of jigsaw puzzles and board games raced away, while wool shops have reported a revival in knitting, particularly from teenagers and young people.