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Jigsaw and Kew grow profits

Robinson Webster Holdings, the parent company of womenswear retailers Jigsaw and Kew, narrowed its losses in 2010 following growth from both their concessions and online businesses.

The group, which also includes indie The Shop at Bluebird and womenswear mail order business Cabbages & Roses, reduced its losses over the year to October 2, from £7.3m in 2009 to £100,000, according to figures filed at Companies House. Group turnover increased to £81.1m, up from £77m in the previous year.

In its directors’ report Robinson Webster said: “This has been particularly encouraging following a period of very difficult trading conditions in 2009.”

Overall the company said increased sales had been achieved by “improvements in product offering, growth in concession stores and the success of Jigsaw’s online business.” Stringent cost control measures implemented have also enabled the group to reduce overheads.

Contemporary womenswear chain Jigsaw made an undisclosed profit, which Robinson Webster said was due mainly to an increase in sales and growth margin. During the period Jigsaw opened two new stores in London, taking its total number of stores to 47 at the end of the period. It is “actively” looking to open new stores in the future.

Jigsaw also opened four new concessions, taking its total number of concessions to 20. Its website also continued to grow “impressively” and plans have been put in place to accelerate the profitable growth of online sales.

Mainstream womenswear retailer Kew continued to make a loss, however it halved its losses from £2.4m in 2009 to £1.1m in the last year. During the period Kew closed its loss making stores in Norwich and Ringwood, which left the number of standalone stores at 21. Kew also opened 18 concessions and closed two, bringing the total number of concessions to 23.

The Shop at Bluebird, the company’s standalone store on King’s Road in London, saw a 12% jump in sales to £2.4m. The shop also achieved an increase in gross margin due to improved sell-throughs and reduced levels of discounting. The Shpo at Bluebird reduced losses from £1.1m in 2009 to £600,000 in the latest year.

Cabbages & Roses, which is sold in Jigsaw stores and via mail-order, made a profit for the year of £239,826, down marginally from £234,695 in the previous year. Cabbages & Roses reported a 50% increase in sales in 2010, up to £3.2m from £2.1m in 2009. Cabbages & Roses increased the number of concessions in Jigsaw stores during the period and shortly after year end the company opened its third standalone store. In 2011 Cabbages and Roses will launch its own transactional website.

During the period subsidiary company Robinson Webster Production reduced its workforce, capacity and losses from £705,666 in 2009 to £252,152 in 2010.

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