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Little Mistress sales soar as retail arm grows

Sales at womenswear firm Little Mistress Group jumped 26% year on year to £11.4m for the first six months of 2016, following its move back into retailing earlier this year.

Little Mistress Debenhams concession Oxford Street

Little Mistress Debenhams concession Oxford Street

Life-for-like sales were up 14%. Gross profit margin increased from 31% to 46% as the firm shifted from a wholesale to a retail model. 

Little Mistress said there was a “dramatic increase” in margins due to the opening of new concessions, several supplier integration deals and the strength of littlemistress.com.

Since February Little Mistress has opened 22 concessions in Debenhams stores and plans to expand this to 100 by the end of 2017.

Little Mistress previously had 100 concessions in Arcadia fascias and New Look from 2009 until 2011, but closed them to focus on launching its wholesale business.

It previously had 400 wholesale accounts, but has reduced this to 310 this season to focus on the retail side of the business.  

Chief executive of Little Mistress Group Mark Ashton said: “In this forever changing sector we’ve managed to position ourselves very well for growth and expansion. Exclusive collections for our strategic partners have been our strength, this enhances all levels of sell through and creates a huge point of difference for our partners.”

He added: “Specialist has seen a huge increase in sales with petite, tall, curve and maternity proving a hit. I’m confident we will hit £30m by end 2017 and I’m very proud of our ever expanding team. Five years on and we’re still growing quite rapidly since our first year revenue figure of £1.3m.”

The business is in talks with potential partners to open franchise stores across the UK and seeking licence partners for footwear and accessories.

Internationally, it is looking to roll out franchise stores in China in 2017 and is in talks to launch in the Middle East.

“We are now seeking franchise partners here and overseas. It’s time; we’ve resisted this for two years but I feel we are ready for this now,” Ashton added.

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