Nov 24, 2016
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Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group announces 200 new stores

Nov 24, 2016

The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group, owner of fashion brands The Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Peacocks, Jane Norman and Austin Reed, announced plans to accelerate the expansion across its portfolio following a year of strong trading.

Photo: EWM

The group plans to open 200 new stores in the next 18 months, creating over 2,000 jobs across the UK, and invest £100m into relaunching Austin Reed in the next three years.

The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group bought Austin Reed out of administration in May of this year, and has recently launched the brand online with the autumn/winter collection.

The news comes as the company announced strong sales for the year to February 27, 2016. Total sales rose to £576.3m from £562.6m in 2015, with like-for-like sales increasing across all brands.

The retailer opened a total of 43 new stores in the UK and Ireland during the period and achieved profit before tax and exceptionals of £90.9m, up 2.4% on the previous year.

Steve Simpson, group commercial director said: "By focusing on quality and giving customers exceptional value for money and positive customer service, we have continued to grow despite increased competition."

"With the addition of Austin Reed, which we acquired earlier this year, as well as Country Casuals and Viyella, we aim to continue this organic growth, while always being ready to respond to other opportunities as they arise."

EBITDA was up 4.9% to £96.6m.

The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group operates 981 standalone stores across the UK, as well as numerous concessions and e-commerce sites.

It said it is open to new acquisition opportunities “as and when they may arise”. In addition to buying Austin Reed, the company acquired the Country Casuals and Viyella brands this year. These labels are due to be relaunched in existing Edinburgh Woollen Mills stores early next year.

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