Womenswear brand Whistles has reported a 7% year-on year rise in turnover to £73.4m for the year to 31 March, driven by new store and concession openings.
During the year, total ecommerce sales accounted for 38.2% of turnover, from 36.1% the year before.
Operating profits at the retailer were down 6% to £3m, while profit before taxation decreased by 7.6% to £2.4m. Profit after tax dropped by 47% to £1.9m, compared to the same period in 2018.
Gross profit increased by 5.2% to £46.4m.
Meanwhile, adjusted EBITDA increased from £4.5m to £5.4m, showing positive growth of 18%.
A total of seven new stores and and 22 new concessions opened during the year, offset by three store and four concession closures. As of 30 March, Whistles operates in 51 standalone stores within the UK. It also has 106 concessions in department stores worldwide, as well as eight online channels.
Whistles said it will focus on its customers’ needs and further develop its teams, while improving the “strength and breadth” of supplier relationships.
‘‘Whistles continued to defy the gloom of the high street in the year to March 2019, increasing its estate by four standalone stores and 18 concessions, including its first location in the US, to drive total sales growth of £4.9m to reach £73.4m”, Pippa Stephens, retail analyst at analytics company GlobalData, said. “Its fashionable yet classic ranges successfully appeal to 25-to-44-year-olds, enabling it to justify its premium price points and providing it with opportunity to steal shoppers from Ted Baker, which has suffered from waning popularity in 2019, with group sales in decline for two consecutive quarters.
“Whistles must be careful that its regular promotions, such as its 30% Black Friday discount, do not devalue its full-price proposition and negatively affect shoppers’ brand perceptions. The retailer announced in February 2019 that it was axing its menswear offer, making its AW18 collection its last, highlighting its failure to gain traction among male shoppers. With its sole focus now on womenswear, Whistles must better promote its ranges on social media with more frequent and engaging posts, and increase its use of influencer marketing to drive top of mind appeal.”