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Whistles 'back on track', despite £2.9m loss

Whistles has reported a £2.9m EBITDA loss for the year to 30 January but said that the business is “back on track”.

The retailer’s sales fell 1% for the 52 weeks to 30 January, it said, as a result of the 53-week comparative period in 2014/15. It also pointed to a “challenging retail trading environment” for the EBITDA loss.

Results for the year to January this year have not yet been filed at Companies House but in the 53-week period to 31 January 2015 sales grew 11% to £62.9m, while EBITDA fell from £4.7m to £2.4m.

It has not given figures for the first half this year.

In March, Phase Eight owner The Foschini Group bought a majority shareholding in Whistles through its subsidiary, TFG Brands London, for an undisclosed sum.

Chief executive Jane Shepherdson left the business in September after eight years in the role. Whistles is now led by brand director Helen Williamson, managing director Justin Hampshire and creative director Nick Passmore.

Williamson said: “2015 was challenging for both Whistles and retail alike, with customer behaviours and sensibilities changing in a very different retail marketplace.”

“Through listening to our customers, Whistles has designed collections which have resonated strongly and resulted in very pleasing like-for-like sales and margin growth in 2016 to date.”

Hampshire added: “Whistles is firmly back on track with a much-improved first-half performance. Our focus on the delivery of aspirational, contemporary womenswear and menswear has enabled us to outperform a flat market in the UK, while the strong financial backing of the wider group has enabled the team to invest meaningfully into the brand’s international expansion.”

Whistles operates 47 standalone stores, 86 concessions and six online channels – including Selfridges and Harrods in the UK and Bloomingdale’s, Brown Thomas and El Corte Inglés – internationally.

During 2016, Whistles partnered with Al Tayer in the Middle East to open its first store in Dubai, and El Corte Inglés in Spain to open three sites. It is now planning international openings in Abu Dhabi, Switzerland and Hong Kong in 2017.

London-based TFG Brands London is led by chief executive Ben Barnett and managing director Lee Harlow, who both hold the same position at Phase Eight. South Africa-based Foschini Group operates more than 3,000 stores and has more than 22,000 employees.

 

Readers' comments (1)

  • 'Back on Track' is tradespeak for 'We're still loss making'

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