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Best & Less loses steam as customers stay wary

Since listing on the ASX earlier this year, and delivering a record FY21, Best & Less’ like-for-like performance has grown steadily on the 12 weeks to 14 November compared to a year prior, with total sales up 5.6 per cent and online sales up 34.9 per cent.

For the year-to-date, however, sales are down 1.3 per cent on FY21, largely due to continued spending caution from consumers despite Covid-19 restrictions being lifted in many parts of the country.

When compared to pre-pandemic FY20, sales are up 23.8 per cent and online sales more than doubled to 147.2 per cent.

And, due to the continued shift in consumer behaviour, the business no longer expects to meet its first-half prospectus forecasts, though does expect the second half of the year to go smoother – subject to there being no more “unanticipated events”.

“This level of disruption has exceeded the company’s previous expectations, including that the most significant Covid-19 restrictions would extend only through to the end of Q1 FY22,” the business said in a letter to investors.

“[Best & Less] has lost 9,272 trading days so far in FY22, equivalent to 27.5 per cent of total trading days, due to government-mandated Covid-19 related retail store closures.”

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