Jigsaw has unveiled a defiant manifesto setting out its full-price strategy and reasons for deciding not to take part in Black Friday on November 27.
The premium high street retailer has committed to holding two end-of-season Sales each year and promised that, outside of these times, it will keep prices constant at all times.
“Our Black Friday manifesto is an honest statement about where we are and what we stand for,” explained chief executive Peter Ruis. “A lot of people are keeping their cards close to their chests, so we thought we’d come clean.”
He said discounting is a broader problem for the industry, with Black Friday and other promotions almost wiping out pre-Christmas sales in December.
“We’re not a cheap brand so if our customer has to save up to buy something, we feel very strongly that we don’t then want them to feel ripped off if it is reduced a couple of weeks later,” he said.
Ruis said the move came as part of the regeneration of the Jigsaw brand, which he has been leading since September 2013. He believes customers now understand its stance on discounting, as its full-price sales have increased despite the promotional market.
For the season to date, which started on October 1, sales have increased 19% year on year, while like-for-like sales are up 12.5%.
“We offer everyday right value product and so we think that we will be fine through the Black Friday weekend,” said Ruis. “Obviously there is a specific customer that is looking for a bargain during that period and we may miss out on those sales, but what we’re saying is that they can come to us for our end-of-season Sale and not to expect one before then.”
Jigsaw is set to open three new UK stores before the end of the year in Westfield London, Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and Shrewsbury in Shropshire.
It opened its first concession in the Netherlands at De Bijenkorf department store in Eindhoven last week and will open another in Amsterdam in January.
The retailer opened a six-week pop-up at Galeries Lafayette BHV store in Paris today (November 17). It said it agreed with the French retailer to open despite the attacks last weekend, to show businesses will not be deterred by terrorists.
It is planning to open two stores in the next year in the UK, as well as new De Bijenkorf concessions and is close to finalising a new store in Saudi Arabia.
Jigsaw has also taken back its licence in Australia and will be opening directly-operated stores there next year.
Ruis said the market is challenging, but consumer confidence seems to be improving. “It is not a benign economy like it was in the 1990s and there are definitely winners and losers in retail now; you can no longer just drift along.
“We are seeing signs of economic improvement thanks to lower energy bills, more employment and lower mortgage rates which gives a feeling of certainty but Britain is overshopped and habits are changing so retailers have to work harder than ever.”
Jigsaw is set to report its annual financial results to the end of September next month, having last year increased EBITDA by 78.4% to £3.14m on sales of £91m for the 12 months ended September 27.
Turnover is expected to have passed the £100m milestone for the first time.
Jigsaw has 71 stores and 37 concessions in the UK, as well as 26 stores and four concessions internationally in the US, Australia, the Middle East, Singapore and South Africa.