Jacques Vert chief executive Paul Allen has predicted that tough market conditions will continue into next year, as the effects of the retail slowdown continue to bite.
The Jacques Vert group, which includes the Jacques Vert, Windsmoor, Planet and Precis chains, saw group like-for-like sales slide 5.9% for the 10 weeks since April 26.
Allen said: “The general feeling is that the market is subdued. It is difficult to see it getting any easier this year, and this is likely to continue into next year. The view is that this will go on for some time.”
He said the Jacques Vert customer was not under the same financial pressures as a younger consumer, but that they had still been affected by what is happening in the wider economy. “Our customers are more savvy than before – our brands aren’t immune,” he said. Allen added that the business had also been affected by higher than expected discounting, with retailers discounting much earlier than in previous years.
At Jacques Vert’s preliminary results for the year ended April 26, retail sales were ahead 1% at £114.9 million, and 0.5% up on a like-for-like basis.
However, the retailer’s operating profits were hit in the final quarter of the financial year, down to £4.7m compared with £5.7m the previous year.
The Jacques Vert group has about 940 shops and concessions mostly in the UK, Republic of Ireland and Canada. Allen said the group would look to expand further into Ireland next year.