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Exclusive: EWM Group profits slip but Jaeger halves its losses

Jaeger halved its losses and expanded its store footprint in the year to 25 August 2018 – 14 months after it was bought by Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) Group. 

Underlying losses at the premium womenswear brand were cut to £3.8m in from £7.1m the year before it collapsed into administration in April 2017. Jaeger opened seven stores and 11 concessions in 2017/18. EWM Group bought Jaeger in May 2017. 

The group, which also includes the Edinburgh Woollen Mill chain, Peacocks, Austin Reed, Jacques Vert owner Calvetron Brands and men’s tailoring brand Berwin & Berwin, reported a profit before tax of £81.2m on revenues of £935.8m for the 18 months to 25 August 2018.

This compared with pre-tax profit of £83.8m on revenues of £592m for the 12 months to 25 February 2017.

Peacocks made pre-tax profit of £66.5m for the 18 months to 25 August 2018, and Edinburgh Woollen Mill reported pre-tax profit of £32.1m.

Berwin & Berwin, which EWM Group bought out of administration in February 2018, made a £1.4m pre-tax profit in the year to 25 August 2018.

EWM Group said the results from its growing portfolio of brands and retailers signalled the “continuing strength of the business, the loyalty of its customer base, and its dedication to continued investment in the face of a challenging, highly competitive retail environment”.

During the period EWM Group opened a new office in London’s Victoria, bringing together its heritage brands – Austin Reed, Jaeger, Berwin & Berwin and Calvetron Brands – as a combined “luxury” division.

The Days Department Store in Carmarthen, Wales, turned a profit in its first year of operation. EWM Group said it is committed to opening more Days Department Stores, but prioritised investment in the luxury division in 2018.

Steve Simpson, chief commercial officer at the group, said: “In the face of a challenging retail environment, our commitment to the physical high street and relentless focus on our customers’ wants and needs has enabled us to, again, stand out from the crowd. One of the biggest successes of 2017/18 was the roll-out of click and collect to our Peacocks retail portfolio, offering our customers a strong digital proposition, but also encouraging them to come into our stores, browse and buy.

“We have also continued to focus on product and build quality, as consumers’ buying decisions are increasingly made on the basis on long-term value rather than impulse. This means that we must retail a product not only at an attractive price point, but also ensure it has a fashionable look and inherent product quality. In short, we continue to focus on providing exceptional value for money.”

He added: “We have invested heavily in our team by recruiting top talent and providing a creative workspace for idea generation, design, and product development. We continue to focus on Jaeger, and we are delighted to see it is on the pathway to profitability again.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • Jaeger is still loss making, so still has to prove it has a right to exist. Unprofitable brands don't.

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