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Cake Box has posted a strong recovery in trading following the lockdown enforced closure of its store estate, with like for like sales up by double digit excluding the closures.

It said the positive momentum in sales experienced prior to the onset of COVID-19 continued following the reopening of the group’s estate with revenues of £8.6m in the 20 weeks to 30 September 2020 – down just 2% year-on-year.

Like for Like sales were up 12.1% for the same period excluding the six week lockdown.

Following the implementation of new ways of working, and a phased reopening programme, all of the group’s stores are now open for business.

The company said it has continued to see an ongoing benefit from the launch of its delivery service through takeaway platforms including Uber Eats, Just Eat and Deliveroo, with online sales increasing 81% compared to the same period last year.

Six new franchise stores were added to the group’s estate during the half year, bringing the total number of stores to 139. In addition, after the period end, three new franchise stores are expected to open imminently.

Cake Box also has a “very strong” pipeline of new franchisees, “driving confidence that the franchise store rollout programme will return to levels seen prior to the onset of COVID-19”.

Currently, the group has received and is holding deposits for 47 sites across the country.

The Group had £5m of cash at period end, having repaid government monies received for the furloughing of group level employees who were unable to work during the immediate impact of COVID-19.

CEO and co-founder Sukh Chamdal commented: “This result is testament to the dedication, agility and entrepreneurial spirit of the Cake Box family, particularly our franchisees and their employees.

“We continue to see strong momentum across the business both in store and online, with like-for-like sales of 12.1% since reopening the business. We have received a record number of new store applications, giving us confidence that the momentum in our national rollout will return to pre-COVID levels.

“Despite the wider environment, our unique proposition for customers and potential franchisees remains highly attractive and we are confident of further progress in the second half.”

Morning update

The FTSE 100 has started the week slightly on the back foot, falling back 0.2% to 6,003pts.

Early risers include Devro, up 4.2% to 179.8p, Premier Foods, up 1.6% to 98p and Stock Spirits, up 1.4% to 219.5p.

Fallers include Marston’s, down 6% to 47.1p, Science in Sport, down 2% to 35.3p and Reckitt Benckiser, down 1.6% to 7,300p.

This week in the City

The week is relatively quiet for company announcements, but there’s plenty of news in the City diary.

A busy Tuesday sees the publication of the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales survey for September along with Barclaycard’s September consumer spending figures.

Also tomorrow sees the publication of the monthy Kantar and Nieslen grocery market share figures.

Wednesday brings a third quarter update from Just Eat.

In the US on Thursday Boots owner Walgreens Boots Alliance posts its full year results, while Johnson & Johnson will release Q3 figures on Tuesday.

Finally, on Friday the results of the long-running John Lewis Partnership Strategy review are scheduled to be published.