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Exclusive: Jigsaw parent back in the black

Robinson Webster Holdings, the parent company of womenswear chain Jigsaw, has posted a pre-tax profit of £1.6m, just one year after it posted a pre-tax loss of almost £21.2m.

For the full-year ended September 29, 2012 the group, which also owns a minority share in womenswear retailer Cabbages & Roses, saw its losses reduce significantly as it shuttered its loss-making Kew 159 fascia at the end of the spring 12 season.

Total sales across the group grew by 10% to £60.2m while margin increased by 1.8% and ecommerce grew by 30%.

As well as making the decision to close the Kew fascia the group also sold its controlling interest in womenswear business Cabbages & Roses during the full-year period, retaining a 49% minority share, enabling it to focus primarily on its core Jigsaw business.

Jigsaw opened 11 stores during the year and closed two unprofitable stores. Of the 11 new stores, seven were previously Kew stores in towns and cities where Jigsaw did not previously have a presence.

Speaking exclusively to Drapers, Jigsaw joint chief executive Charles Atterton said: “The orderly wind down of Kew is completed save for a minimal amount of stock that is being sold in a couple of stores. 

“Kew shops have either been converted to Jigsaw or Jigsaw Menswear (either permanently or temporarily) while others have been sold to third parties.”

A further two new Jigsaw stores that were previously Cabbages & Roses stores were opened during the year and the retailer also opened in two completely new locations in Newbury and Cheshire Oaks.

In addition to its standalone stores Jigsaw opened six new concessions within John Lewis stores but closed its concession business within department store group House of Fraser.

By the end of the financial year Jigsaw had 57 standalone stores and 26 concessions and then opened another concession in John Lewis shortly after year end.

In its directors report Robinson Webster Holdings said it is actively looking to open new stores on a selective basis.

The full year period also saw the relaunch of Jigsaw’s menswear fascia in spring 12, which Robinson Webster Holdings described as “successful”. 

At year-end Jigsaw Menswear was operating out of four standalone menswear stores with a further four former Kew 159 stores converted after the end of the financial year. 

The retailer also fully relaunched its ecommerce site with a new platform provider during the period and redesigned its mobile optimised site. The business also moved its web fulfillment operation to its main warehouse site in Swindon, in order to allow easier transfer of stock between web and stores.

At the end of the financial year the business signed a five year franchise deal in the Middle East. The first store is set to open in Dubai in 2013 and a further nine are planned in the region over the next four years.

Atterton added that Jigsaw has also just signed a new licensing agreement for bedding and that product will be available at John Lewis. 

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