‘BookTok’ trend boosts sales at The Works, but retailer warns cost-of-living crisis is causing a slowdown in growth
- BookTok involves TikTok users posting clips of themselves endorsing books
- The retailer’s annual revenues rose by 12.7% on the same period two years ago
- Demand for Peppa Pig, Cocomelon, and PAW Patrol also helped lift revenues
A phenomenon prevalent on the social media platform TikTok has been credited by a major discount chain for driving book sales at its stores.
Coleshill-based The Works said the ‘BookTok’ hashtag, which has been viewed over 54 billion times, has bolstered demand for its front-list titles and drawn greater interest in previous bestsellers among customers.
BookTok involves users of the video-sharing service posting clips of themselves recommending books, or displaying their reactions to reading certain books.
Online boost: The Works said the ‘BookTok’ hashtag has bolstered demand for its front-list titles and drawn greater interest in previous bestsellers among customers
The company also received stronger orders for branded toys and games based on popular children’s animated shows, including Peppa Pig, the YouTube series Cocomelon, and PAW Patrol.
Demand for these goods helped the retailer’s total revenues for the 52 weeks to the start of May rise by 12.7 per cent on the same period two years ago, and like-for-like revenues increase by 10.4 per cent.
But while sales have continued expanding since its last trading update in January, following a record Christmas trading period, the group has noticed growth starting to slow in recent months.
Even though The Works typically experiences a drop in trade in the post-festive period, it believes this has been worsened by Britons limiting their consumer spending amidst a burgeoning cost-of-living crisis.
Sales were further affected – on a more limited basis – by a cyber attack in April that forced the business to close some of its stores, suspend all stock deliveries, and delay delivering online orders to customers.
As a result of the incident, the company has expedited plans to implement new IT security measures and delayed the publication of its full-year results until September.
Rising prices: The Works said it believes the slowdown in sales has been worsened by Britons limiting their consumer spending amidst a burgeoning cost-of-living crisis
This week, the Bank of England revealed the country’s inflation rate soared to 9 per cent last month, its highest level in 40 years, with oil, gas and electricity costs the largest factor behind price increases.
Meanwhile, figures released today by the Office for National Statistics showed that UK retail sales fell by 0.3 per cent in the three months to April when compared with the previous quarter, primarily due to declines in February and March.
Gavin Peck, chief executive of The Works, acknowledged the troubling economic issues facing consumers as he told investors: ‘As we move into our new financial year, general trading conditions remain challenging.
‘We will continue to focus on the factors within our control and ensure that, as customers face increasing cost-of-living pressures, they can continue to rely on The Works as a destination for great value products to inspire reading, learning, creativity and play.’
Despite the current economic uncertainty, the positive trading results helped The Works shares climb 11 per cent to 55.8p on Friday afternoon, although their value has plunged by over 19 per cent in the past three months.