The owners of Pringle of Scotland had to rescue the label in a £10.9m bailout, it emerged this week.
The designer knitwear label – which should be in prime position to take advantage of this season’s heritage trend – was paid £5m last year by its Hong Kong-based parent company SC Fang & Sons and has received another £5.9m since its financial year ended on January 29.
The label, famous for its Argyle knits, posted annual pre-tax losses of £7.25m for the year to January 29, 2011. Operating losses rose to £8.9m from £6.5m a year ago and sales fell from £11m to £10.2m.
Pringle’s losses fly in the face of the current popularity of British heritage, with UK brands and retailers such as Barbour, Hunter, Marks & Spencer and Moss Bros continuing to profit from the trend.
In a statement, Pringle put its latest losses down to a focus on “long-term development of the brand and global business”. It said sales continued to be hit by the global economic crisis and the company was investing in improving its product.
“Given the continued investment in the Pringle of Scotland brand, the directors are not expecting to report operating profits in the short term but are satisfied that the development of the brand and of the business are progressing in line with their long-term strategic objectives,” a company spokesman said.
In February, chief executive Mary-Adair Macaire left Pringle after two-and-a-half years at the helm, and in March creative director Clare Waight Keller resigned after five years. Jean Fang, a member of the owning family, replaced Macaire, and Alistair Carr, formerly of Balenciaga, is now creative director.
Pringle was bought from Dawson International in 2000 by SC Fang & Sons for £6.1m.