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Karen Millen shrinks annual losses

Karen Millen reduced its operating losses by 85% to £1.4m in the year to February 2018, as the retailer’s turnaround strategy takes hold.

Gross profit increased 4% to £99m on sales of £161.9m, up 2% on 2017. The business said EBITDA remains “positive and is growing steadily.”

Karen Millen’s digital business “grew significantly” over the 12 months following investment in the web platform. It said it focused on “improving its product offer and further rationalising its store estate” during the period.

In October, Karen Millen bought Coast out of administration through a pre-pack deal.

It has now appointed Ann Summers brand director Jane Eskriett in the same role at Coast. Eskriett will have overall responsibility for design, buying and merchandising for the Coast brand, reporting into CEO of Karen Millen Beth Butterwick. Eskriett has worked at Ann Summers since June 2014. Before that she was managing director of Fenn Wright Manson and Nicole Farhi.

Butterwick said: “Having successfully stabilised the business, we’re looking ahead to an exciting new chapter for Karen Millen. Our continued focus on product – including new licensing partnerships – will see the launch of new ranges, and our acquisition of certain parts of Coast will strengthen our presence in premium fashion.”

This week Karen Millen announced a new swimwear licensing deal with Heidi Klein’s subsidiary Beach Beautiful. The first 24-piece swim and resortwear collection will launch exclusively in Karen Millen’s Gatwick North store in February 2019. It will roll out internationally, in store and online, later in the month. 

Karen Millen appointed Global Brands Group as its international bags and accessories licence partner in August, and signed a global footwear licensing deal with Pentland Brands in June. 

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