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Jaeger turnaround continues as it drops all sub-brands

Jaeger has made further headway with its turnaround plan, recording a 23% jump like-for-like sales for the 13 weeks to December 28, and a 32% increase for the five week festive period.

The period – in which the business saw a number of significant changes to its top team- saw an increase in total sales of 20%. Online sales rose 57% in that time, thanks to “recent website enhancements”, while Jaeger concessions rose 21% on last year.

Women’s coats, outerwear and dresses were highlighted as top performers, with the categories up 40% on last year. Men’s coats and outerwear, knitwear and tailoring all recorded double digit growth.

The business also traded well in Christmas, with total sales up 31% and like-for-likes up 32%. The refurbished Regent Street store saw sales rise more than 50%.

The quarterly figures follow Jaeger’s full year results, reported in October, which showed the premium retailer had narrowed its losses since being taken over by Better Capital. It halved losses after tax from £35.5m to £13.1m for the full year to February 23, despite sales dropping 17% to £70.7m. Gross profits also fell 17% to £40.9m.

Chief executive Colin Henry told Drapers that margins were on target for the 13 weeks to December 28, and noted that the business was “progressing well” through its five year turnaround plan.

He added: “It is still early days in our turnaround and there is much to do to capitalise on the significant opportunities that we have. This performance gives us good momentum as we go into 2014, our 130th year, where we shall continue to develop the Jaeger brand and progress with our strategy.”

Meanwhile Jaeger is ditching both its sub-brands and reversing from its short-lived experiment selling third party brands in order to focus on the “core Jaeger” business.

As reported by Drapers back in August, the younger-skewing sub-brand Jaeger Boutique is being wound down and will be dropped completely by April.

The premium sub-brand Jaeger London will be dropped once current stock has been cleared.

Jaeger is also dropping its third party concession brands, which launched into it Regent Street store last spring. Preen Line, Goat, and Orla Kiely sat alongside emerging designers Aloe, Charlotte Taylor, Studio Nicholson and Suzannah in the retailer’s newly refurbished Regent Street store, as part of a move to re-establish Jaeger’s fashion credentials.

However Henry – who joined the business in June – told Drapers that the experiment had not been successful.

“It didn’t pay its way in terms of return per square foot in store,” he said. “We felt we could trade more effectively in that space.” The same thinking applied to the dropping of the sub-brands, Henry added.

No jobs have been lost as a result, with all resource being redeployed to work on the mainline collection. “We were short of design resource so we have actually put more resource into the main brand now,” he said.

Although the main collection will now target a “broad range” of customer, Henry said Jaeger would no longer chase the younger demographic that Boutique had. “That is not a focus for us, that is not what the Jaeger customer expects,” he explained.

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