Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group posts profit, Jaeger narrows loss
Despite the many challenges facing UK high street retailers, Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group continues to invest in bricks-and-mortar.
The group behind fashion brands including Jaeger, Peacocks and Austin Reed announced on Monday pre-tax profits of £81.2 million for the 18 months ended 25 August, and revenues of £953.8 million.
New filed accounts revealed that the group’s Peacocks chain generated £66.5 million in pre-tax profits, while Edinburgh Woollen Mill contributed £32.1 million.
Meanwhile Jaeger, which was acquired by the group after it fell into administration in 2017, has seen underlying losses more than halve to £3.86 million on a 12-month basis from £7.1 million.
The group remains committed to the high street by opening stores “where they are truly needed”, and says it is resisting the trend towards discounting. In fact, during the period it opened 7 new Jaeger standalone stores and 11 concessions, and launched new ranges with a competitive pricing architecture to protect the brand’s margins.
Steve Simpson, chief commercial officer at the group, said: “In the face of a challenging retail environment, our commitment to the physical high-street and relentless focus on our customers' wants and needs has enabled us to, again, stand out from the crowd.
"We have also continued to focus on product and build quality, as consumers' buying decisions are increasingly made on the basis on long-term value rather than impulse. This means that we must retail a product not only at an attractive price point, but also ensure it has a fashionable look and inherent product quality. In short, we continue to focus on providing exceptional value for money.”
Following the group’s acquisition of Austin Reed, Jaeger, Berwin (including Baumler), and Calvetron Brands (including Jacques Vert, Dash, Eastex, Windsmoor), EWMG opened a new office in London’s Victoria.
The move was described by COO Steve Simpson has a “big success”, as it brings together many of its brands into a single place.
“It is the new home of our luxury arm. We have invested heavily in our team by recruiting top talent and providing a creative workspace for idea generation, design, and product development. We continue to focus on Jaeger, and we are delighted to see it is on the pathway to profitability again,” he said.
Jaeger seems to be the main focus for the group at the moment, leaving its plans for an expansion of the Days department store on hold. The concept store in Carmarthen continues to be the only Days site in the group’s portfolio and while EWMG said it remains committed to rolling out further locations, the luxury division will take priority in FY18.
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