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Cake retailer Cake Box Holdings has posted growth of 50% in the year ending 31 March as store openings and the ending of Covid restrictions boosted sales.

It said trading during the second half has continued to be “strong” across its store estate and online delivery channels.

Accordingly, the Group expects to report revenues for the year as up by around 50% year-on-year, with adjusted profit before tax in line with market expectations.

Revenues for the ten months to 31 March 2022, excluding the impact of the March 2020 lockdown and associated store closures from the comparative period, are expected to have increased 32%, with total franchisee sales increasing 12% on a like-for-like basis.

Online delivery and click & collect continues to grow, with franchisee online sales increased 41% during the year and 27% on a ten-month basis.

Meanwhile, the group opened 11 new franchise stores in the second half (excluding kiosk openings), bringing the total number of stores opened in the full year to 31 and leaving the total number of Cake Box stores at period end at 185.

New locations opened in the second half include Tottenham, Plymouth and Sunderland.

The company said there “continues to be a high level of interest in Cake Box’s differentiated franchise proposition”, with both strong demand for new stores from existing franchisees and a pipeline of new franchisee applicants representing 53 holding deposits held at the period end.

The successful trial of Cake Box kiosks with Asda has also continued to expand, with ten new kiosks opened during the year, taking the total number of Asda kiosks to 15 in addition to the group’s 20 shopping centre kiosks.

Sukh Chamdal, co-founder and CEO, said: “We have delivered another record performance for the year, demonstrating the continuing appeal of our customer and franchisee proposition. Our strategy to reach customers across the UK is starting to deliver. This is thanks to the dedication, determination and commitment of the exceptional entrepreneurs in our Cake Box Family, which continues to grow, providing opportunities for entrepreneurs, creating jobs and providing delicious, fresh cream cakes up and down the country.

“With a strengthened team and investment in our operations and processes, we have all the right ingredients to continue to sustainably grow the Cake Box customer base, brand and Family.”

Cake Box shares are up 6.2% to 204.5p so far this morning.

Morning update

WH Smith has informed the market that its online greeting cards subsidiary, Funky Pigeon, was subject to a cyber security incident affecting part of its systems on Thursday 14 April.

It said it takes the security of customer data “extremely seriously” and has temporarily suspended orders from the website while it investigates the incident with external IT specialists.

No customer payment data, such as bank account or credit card details, has been placed at risk - all of this data is processed securely via accredited third-parties and is securely encrypted.

The company is currently investigating the extent to which any personal data, specifically names, addresses, e-mail addresses and personalised card and gift designs has been accessed.

WH Smith said that, based on the current analysis of the situation, the incident will not have a material impact on the financial position of the group. It will report its results for the half year to 28 February 2022 on 27 April 2022 and confirmed that they are comfortably in line with company compiled consensus.

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 has opened down 0.1% to 7,606.8pts.

Early risers include McBride, up 4.4% to 34.7p, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, up 2.8% to 46.6p and McColl’s, up 2.6% to 3.9p.

Fallers include Deliveroo, down 6.6% to 106.2p, THG, down 6.5% to 88.9p and Just Eat, down 5.6% to 2,126p.

This week in the City

The City is back into full gear despite the short week with international earnings season starting this week.

Tomorrow brings quarterly earning updates from Heineken, Danone, Carrefour and Procter & Gamble.

In the UK, Naked Wines is scheduled to release a full year trading update on Wednesday.

Thursday brings first quarter updates from Nestle and Philip Morris, while in the UK troubled THG will finally post its annual results.

Friday sees Kimberly-Clark post first quarter results on Friday, while the GFK consumer confidence figures for April and the ONS retail sales figures are both out on Friday.