Whistles and Hobbs recover after the pandemic as social events resume
TFG and the brands it owns — Whistles, Hobbs and Phase Eight — have released some of their annual results for the year ending late March and they show a clear improvement after the previous financial year was devastated by the impact of the pandemic.
The parent company reported turnover of £310 million, up from £192.6 million, and adjusted EBITDA of £37.3 million. That was much better than a loss on the same basis of £13.1 million a year earlier. The operating profit was £22.7 million, again, better than a loss of £187.3 million in the previous year. And the net loss was radically reduced to £0.1 million from £187.5 million.
The company said that its brands have seen a steady return to a more normalised demand pattern but the start of the financial year was still impacted by lost trading hours linked to the pandemic.
However, over the 12 months, it saw a steady improvement and a strong final quarter both in terms of demand and footfall patterns. But it said there's still further to go to meet or exceed the customer appetite of the pre-pandemic market. It added that it's felt the change in consumer behaviour with its online sales mix increasing.
Its customers have embraced the return to normality and have been spending on clothing for social gatherings, events and weddings, which is what drove the big increase in turnover. That was almost at the same level as before the pandemic, despite the demise of Debenhams that used to be a key outlet for the brands.
The gross margin for the year was 64.8%, up from 49.9% as the company focused less on promotions and also ensured that its best partners were well stocked.
Looking at its individual brands, Whistles saw turnover rising to £70.9 million from £43.3 million and its net profit was £3.3 million, the operation having swung from a loss of £6.2 million in the previous year. Its headline gross margin rose to 63.2% from 53.5%.
At Hobbs, turnover rose to £113.5 million from £65.1 million and it made a net profit of £7.2 million compared to a loss of £15.2 million in the previous year. Here, the headline gross margin was 62.3%, up from 46%.
Phase Eight has a different accounting period from the other two grand and so hasn't yet reported.
The company didn't release any updates as to how more recent trading has gone in so we don't know how the current cost of living crisis might be affecting it.
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