Edinburgh Woollen Mill sees another profitable year despite tough backdrop
The “intensely competitive” market is affecting even the most robust retail chains but Edinburgh Woollen Mill managed to increase sales in its latest financial year, the period to February this year.
The company, which owns a raft of major brands including Austin Reed, Peacocks, Jane Norman, and Jaeger, said comparable sales rose 2.7% during the year to reach £592 million, The Times reported. And while operating profit rose 1.7% to £91.5 million, unadjusted operating profit was only £83.3 million with foreign exchange losses taken into account. Profit after tax was down to £18.61 million from £19.66 million.
Philip Day, the retail billionaire who has built EWM into a major force on the UK high street, said that conditions were tough but attractive pricing, increasing online sales and an efficient supply chain were all helping it to overcome the gloomy backdrop. "We have a 'first price, right price' strategy and a robust strategic supply chain," he told there newspaper, which is “about delivering the best value to all of our customers, whether they are buying from Peacocks or Austin Reed.”
While the results only take us up to February 2017, it will be interesting to see how the company has been performing this year. Its launch of the Days department store banner has taken advantage of the large number of brands the business owns by bringing then all together under one roof.
The ‘chain’ has only one store at present (in Carmarthen) but stores in Bedford and Crawley are planned and the firm is in talks about other locations, as well as looking for a flagship site in London.
That could see it returning to the West End after the earlier closure of flagships for both Austin Reed and Jaeger on Regent Street. Coach now occupies the former Jaeger flagship site.
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