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Arcadia cashes in on younger customers

Young fashion chains Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge were star performers for Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group, posting record sales and profits for the year. However, operating profit dropped 6.1% to £275.3 million for the year ended August 30.

Topman, Topshop and Miss Selfridge all had record years. Green told Drapers: “The brands have done a great job, we’ve got people who know us and know the business.”
Arcadia’s mainstream fascias Dorothy Perkins, Burton and Wallis did not fare as well, and were hit by unseasonal weather.

Group like-for-like sales fell 2.8% over the 52-week period. Total sales were down 0.6% to £1.8 billion. Green said: “We’ve generated £340m [EBITDA] and on any basis that is in the top echelons of any private retailer.”

In the first seven weeks since the year end Arcadia’s sales have slipped back further by 1.8%.

Green said current trading was tough and it was difficult to predict how the next few weeks would fare. He said: “Now with the crazy weather patterns, people don’t need to buy new clothes and we need to give them an extra reason to buy.”

He said the business had kept overall cost growth at 2% on the year, despite a space increase of 3% and underlying fixed like-for-like growth. “We have tried to ensure customers see newness and excitement in our stores on a regular basis,” he said.

Arcadia invested £85m of capital in the last financial year, focusing on new space and business systems, including the internet, which has seen strong growth across young fashion.

Green said there was “no update” on his talks with the Icelandic government about buying the debt from troubled Icelandic investment group Baugur.

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