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More work to do, says Jigsaw chief executive

Jigsaw’s turnaround is ahead of schedule but there is still work to be done, according to chief executive Peter Ruis.

Peter Ruis

Peter Ruis

Peter Ruis, chief executive, Jigsaw

Earlier today the business revealed turnover broke through the £100m barrier in the year to October 3, while its underlying earnings almost tripled to £5.4m.

The results marked the end of the second full year under Ruis, who joined from John Lewis in September 2013, tasked with turning around Jigsaw’s performance from losses of over £21.2m.

But he told Drapers: “There’s always a lot more to do. Personally I’m never happy. The good news is we’re way ahead of our original business plan; more than we could have foreseen. We’re only two and a bit years into our strategy, but of course its always hard to put a time on these things.”

Ruis said the retailer’s decision to remain at full price during Black Friday was “without a doubt the right one” and delivered further record results.

“Once you’ve taken the medicine not to discount, it’s so much easier not to do it in the future. We had our highest ever week at full price, we traded ahead of budget and our returns rate was 13% at a time when others were having 30% to 40%.

“We likely lost some sales by not discounting, but the key thing is we didn’t lose margin.”

Focus has now turned to retail growth both in the UK, where it has 71 stores and 37 concessions, and internationally, where it has 26 stores and four concessions.

“In the UK we’ve identified at least 15 clear opportunities for us to open stores during 2016. What we find is the more stores we open, the better all our channels perform, including stores, online and concessions.

“Our aim is to fill in gaps on the map where the drive time between stores is longer than half an hour.”

Ruis said the record results meant plans for international expansion have been brought forward, including regaining its Australian license ahead of launching an owned retail operation next year.

“Along with international store and concession openings in De Bijenkorf in the Netherlands and Galeries Lafayette in Paris in 2015 and those planned for 2016, we regained our Australian license. It’s the right thing to do to get control and bring the products in line with the rest of the business.”

Taking the lead from its Black Friday approach Jigsaw plans to avoid discounting until the January Sales after Christmas.

“We follow a different model to most fashion retailers these days, most of which will go on Sale next week. We trade the traditional way, at full price right up until Boxing Day. We’ll be on Sale for most of January, winding down towards the end, ready for a fresh launch in February.”

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