Findel sales rise again, plans to change name to Studio Retail
Findel had lots of news on Wednesday with a name change and further strong growth for its Studio.co.uk fashion brand. The company saw its revenue topping £500 million in the 52 weeks to March 29 with a rise from £479.6 million to £506.8 million. And while EBITDA dropped to £45.9 million from £46.4 million, pre-tax profits rose to £29.4 million from £22.2 million.
The Studio Retail division remained the key driver as it grew its active customer numbers and shoppers visiting its site spent more. The unit had a buoyant pre-Christmas period and is "thriving in the current market conditions.”
The company has been gradually allocating more of its marketing spend away from catalogues into digital and TV advertising, aiming to raise the profile of the Studio brand. “The recent facelift of the brand, together with sponsorship of the fashion segment of ITV's This Morning and selectively advertising in peak TV programmes on top of the traditional daytime slots is helping to boost awareness of the brand and its value credentials,” it said.
But while it’s growing the brand quickly, it’s pulling back from a big rollout of menswear in a deal with Sports Direct, its biggest shareholder. It said that the results of tests have "not yet indicated that a fuller rollout of licenced menswear will be beneficial".
Yet the two continue to look at collaboration opportunities and Studio could enter a deal for access to other Sports Direct-owned brands in future seasons. Talks around this were put on hold when Sports Direct earlier made a mandatory (and failed) bid, but these will begin again soon.
While the company also has an education division, the importance of the Studio operation can be seen from the fact that management believes it’s the right time to change its name. And it will be called? As of next month, Studio Retail Group.
Chairman Ian Burke said: “For many years, Studio has been the main customer-facing brand of our largest business, Express Gifts. We have increased investment in digital and TV advertising in order to raise the profile of the Studio brand. The division changed its name from Express Gifts to Studio at the start of 2019 and has recently modernised its logo and websites. We think the time is now right to strengthen Studio's identity further and so will be proposing that we change the group's name from Findel plc to Studio Retail Group plc at the upcoming AGM.”
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