White Stuff in profits plunge but international business grows
White Stuff saw its pre-tax profit more than halve from £13m to £5.9m in the year to 29 April 2017, despite total sales increasing across all channels by 6.2% to £153.6m.
The company blamed external headwinds created by the UK's 'living wage', pension costs and exchange rates for the profit decline, together with an increase in costs related to the opening of new shops and higher marketing investment.
“Like many retailers, we have faced a challenging trading environment since the start of our financial year,” said the company in a report, adding that the perceived uncertainty created in consumers' minds by Brexit and other external factors have required the business to realign itself to its future needs.
During the year, White Stuff made approximately 30 redundancies at its head office and its CEO Jeremy Seigal announced plans to leave the business at the end of 2017 after four years. A successor is yet to be confirmed.
Despite the tough trading environment and uncertain macroeconomic conditions, total shop sales increased 4.9% to £102.2 million, benefitting from the opening of 23 new shops and nine concessions during the period.
Web sales also performed strongly, up 9.9% to £42.3m. According to the report, e-commerce accounts now for 29.3% of the total retail and online sales, compared with 28.3% last year.
The wholesale channel finished the year up 4.6% to £9.1m, driven by an increase in international sales mainly from France, Germany, Ireland and Canada.
Profit after tax was £4m, versus £9.7m a year earlier.
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