Whistles’ sales grew 11% to £62.9m in the year to January 31 2015, but it made a pre-tax loss as a result of the cost of launching menswear, expanding into the US and replatforming its website.
The business, which described last year’s retailing environment as “difficult”, swung to a pre-tax loss of £2.4m compared twith a £1.9m profit the year before. EBITDA fell from £4.7m to £2.4m.
Whistles detailed a series of one-off costs during the year, including the launch of its first menswear collection for autumn 14. This cost £378,000, accounts filed at Companies House show.
In May the retailer moved into the US for the first time through a partnership with department store Bloomingdale’s, which cost £175,000 to set up.
It now trades from 10 points of sale in Bloomingdale’s and is planning further expansion on the west coast of the US in spring 2016.
Participating in London Fashion Week in 2014 cost an additional £434,000.
During the year, Whistles opened shops in St Pancras and Parsons Green in London, and at Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre. It opened three new concessions: in Selfridges on London’s Oxford Street and in Manchester, and with John Lewis in York.
It now has 48 shops in the UK and 59 concessions. The most recent addition is a 2,000 sq ft flagship in Westfield London, which opened on November 12 and houses the full collection of women’s and menswear.