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Jacques Vert forecasts return to profit in 2016

annulled 

Jacques Vert Group has predicted it will be back in the black by the end of 2016 after it narrowed its operating losses last year.

Jacques Vert spring 16

Jacques Vert spring 16

Turnover at the womenswear concessions business fell 4.4% to £175.6m in the 53 weeks to January 31 2015, compared with the year before. UK sales dropped 5.2% to £148.5m.

However, it has reduced its underlying EBITDA loss from £7.1m for the year to January 2014 to £5.7m last year, while its operating loss before exceptional items narrowed from £12.4m to £10.7m.

It made a reported loss of £34.9m as a result of one-off costs of £19.6m related to the merger of Jacques Vert and Irisa Group in January 2012.

“It was never going to be a particularly flattering year of results,” chief financial officer Shaun Wills told Drapers, who joined the company in April.

“There’s no magic wand. It’s about doing the basics right with a more strategic approach to markdowns, better cost control and improving sourcing and buying.

“This year is about stabilisation and we have delivered positive underlying EBITDA in the first half. We’d like to think we can get back into profit next year.”

JVG last made a profit in 2011, but has been hit since by the merger costs and rationalisation of its brand portfolio.

In 2014, the group began to close loss-making brands, starting with Minuet Petite. It is now winding up workwear brand Planet and occasionwear label Kaliko, which should be completed by the end of January 2016.

It closed around 70 concessions in 2014, cutting staff numbers by around 180 to 1,399. By the year-end, it had 412 concessions.

The group is now focused on its five core brands: Jacques Vert, Precis Petite, Dash, Eastex and Windsmoor. Outerwear brand Windsmoor also has a plus-size sub-brand called Colebrooke.

The biggest brand in its portfolio, Jacques Vert, enjoyed double-digit growth last year, the group said. It opened a 1,200 sq ft store in Birmingham’s Grand Central development in September, bringing its total in the UK to nine.

JVG said overall trading in the first half of this year had been strong, with like-for-like sales up 3% and underlying EBITDA positive.

Chief executive Teresa Tideman stepped down from the group in April and was replaced by former Debenhams and Baugur executive Tim Davies.

Wills stepped down as chief financial officer of SuperGroup in February, after beginning bankruptcy proceedings which were later anulled, before joining Jacques Vert in May.

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