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Whistles back in the black

Whistles returned to profit in the year to 31 March 2018, driven by strong sales growth and a cost-cutting programme that reduced overheads, direct costs and loss-making stores.

Operating profit for the year was £3.2m, compared with an operating loss of £3.1m for the 62 weeks to 1 April 2017. EBITDA jumped to £5m compared with a loss of £1.6m for the 62 weeks the prior financial year.

Sales for the year were up 16% on the 12 months to 1 April 2017, to £68.5m. Gross margin for the year increased to 64% from 60% in 2017.

Online sales increased 28% compared with the 12 months to 1 April 2017.

Whistles opened one store during the period, taking its total to 45 shops and 79 concessions. It has one menswear store, in London. 

Whistles is part of The Foschini Group, which also owns Hobbs and Phase Eight.

As exclusively revealed by Drapers, Whistles brand director Helen Williamson will move into the role of managing director this month. Williamson joined Whistles as commercial director in February 2015 and became brand director in September 2016.

Former Whistles managing director Justin Hampshire is joining Hobbs in the same role.

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