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La Senza defies the downturn

Lingerie retailer La Senza has defied the consumer downturn with soaring sales and profits for the year to March 29.
Pre-tax profits at the business rocketed 70% to £10.3 million, while sales jumped 20% to £118.8m.

Online sales, which now make up 6% of total turnover, grew by 70% while the average transaction value in stores rose by 1%.

Chief financial offer Simon Belfer attributed the growth to new stores and better stock management. “Our new stores are performing ahead of expectations, our margins are healthy and we’re buying better. We’ve reduced stock from £19m to £16m over the year and our like-for-like sales are up,” he said.

Last month, La Senza opened its biggest store to date, measuring 5,300sq ft, at the Westfield London shopping centre in White City, west London. It carries the new shopfit unveiled last year.

Belfer added that he was unconcerned by new international players entering the market, such as Italian lingerie retailers Yamamay and Calzedonia. “We’re number two in terms of market share behind Marks & Spencer and our share is growing,” he said.

“If the right kind of retailer enters the UK market, then the market grows, which is good for everyone. La Senza’s identity and positioning in the market is unique and we’re continuing to bring more newness and fashion into the business.”

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