The parent company of premium retailers Jigsaw and The Shop at Bluebird, Robinson Webster (Holdings), reported a pre-tax loss of £783,000 for the year to 30 September 2017, down from profit of £2.7m in 2016, as the UK retail industry struggles hit the retail group’s profitability.
Gross profit margin for the group was 62.5%, compared with 65.2% in 2016.
Sales of clothing and accessories rose 9.5% from £94.7m in 2016 to £103.7m in 2017, “driven by strong online growth, particularly in the UK and increased distribution points in the UK, Europe and Australia”.
Bricks-and-mortar stores accounted for £76.2m of total turnover, an increase of £488,000 on the previous year. Ecommerce, including online concessions, accounted for the remaining £27.6m, a year-on-year increase of £8.6m.
Jigsaw UK online revenues rose by 45% to £15.9m, and turnover from its largest ecommerce partner, John Lewis, rose by 2% to £5.7m. Ecommerce sales now account for 26.6% of total group turnover, growing 5.5% from 2016. International online assets generated turnover of £1.2m, compared with £400,000 in 2016.
The company attributed “headwinds” in the second half to a reduction in consumer confidence, reduced footfall on the UK high streets, increased business rates and other property costs and an increase in the national minimum wage.
The annual report also highlighted that a fall in UK like-for-like sales adversely impacted the Group’s overall profitability, leading to a fall in overall adjusted EBITDA (before exceptionals) from £5.8m in 2016 to £2.7m in 2017.
Jigsaw UK opened 8 standalone stores and 27 concessions in 2017, for a total of 86 standalone stores and 78 concessions by the end of the period. The Shop at Bluebird has one standalone store in London’s Covent Garden.
At Jigsaw, turnover for the core womenswear offer grew by 5.1%, and related accessories rose by 3%. However, menswear dipped by 10.4% and kidswear dropped by 1.1%. Sales at The Shop at Bluebird arm of Robinson Webster rose by 6% after “good performances” in the physical store and 91% growth on its web concession on online shopping platform Farfetch.
Within its report the Group highlighted that: “In order to reduce its overall exposure to fixed costs and increase variable costs, the Group is increasing its activities that are not dependent on the UK high street, including ecommerce and licensing.”