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Pringle weathers sales dip

Sales at luxury knitwear business Pringle of Scotland fell 8.8% last year, although losses remained stable.

Turnover at the company was £17.74 million for the 52 weeks to March 29 2008, down from £19.46m the previous year. Gross margin fell from 46.7% to 38.6%, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

Pre-tax losses were cut slightly, at £9.46m over the period, compared with £9.54m the previous year. Operating losses were £9.4m, compared with £9.43m the previous year.

Pringle said the main driver of the losses was the continued investment in the long-term development of the brand.

The accounts report by director Douglas Fang, the Hong Kong clothing magnate who bought the brand in 2000, said: “We have continued to elevate the brand and improve the operating efficiency by reducing the number of inappropriate wholesale outlets, securing exclusive arrangements with premier retailers, improving the product assortment and introducing new product categories.”

The report added that due to continued investment, the directors were not expecting to report operating profits in the short term, but were satisfied with the development of the brand. Since the year end, £5m of funding has been received from parent company Pringle Enterprises.

In July last year, the group said it was stopping manufacturing at its plant in Hawick in Scotland.

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