Ann Summers profits soar but stay small in challenging market
Lingerie retailer Ann Summers saw its profits surging in its latest financial year, although at £2.9 million, it’s got a long way to go before it hits the big time.
The retailer, which has reinvented itself, moving from its sex toy origins into a major intimates player in Britain, saw it sales rising from £102 million to £109 million in the year to June 24 2017. Pre-tax profit was up 180% just short of £3 million.
In its latest set of accounts, it said that the retail sector was “challenging” but that store improvements, an IT infrastructure overhaul and placing the customer at the heart of decision-making had all helped it overcome the challenges.
CEO Jacqueline Gold said the customer-centric focus is crucial in a market where shoppers have “less money in their pockets.”
She also said that all channels delivered growth in sales and profit in the last financial year. Wholesale did well, we’re told, with good business through stockists such as Asos, Shop Direct and House of Fraser.
And the company remains committed to its store chain. It has revamped or relocated eight stores, including the Marble Arch flagship in London, as well as opening three new locations. Those new and refurbished stores have been generating stronger sales than its other stores and the company said that all core portfolio locations would be refitted by the start of the next decade.
It has also been focusing on product and in particular has been targeting younger shoppers. That has included a new activewear line that mixes workout gear with the sexy edge that the brand is known for. And it has relaunched the Knickerbox brand that it acquired some tears ago to appeal to younger customers.
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