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Exclusive: Sales suffer six-month decline at AllSaints

Trading plummets following shift away from discounting, while more key staff exit the premium chain.

Like-for-like sales have plunged at AllSaints as the premium retailer focused on a more full-price strategy under its new owners.

Figures seen by Drapers indicate that sales at AllSaints fell every month for six months during the second half of 2012, with July, August and November all showing a double-digit percentage drop.

The biggest fall was in August, when sales plummeted 26.4%, while October saw the smallest decline of 1.2%.

Overall, sales are expected to be down by about £10m.

The results come in the same week it has emerged that several high-profile members of the AllSaints team have left the business.

As reported on Drapersonline.com, chief merchandising officer Matthew Corin, who joined in March last year, and Paul Seston, chief operating officer of AllSaints in the US, are among those to have departed.

Senior womenswear designer Jenni Cain, who has been at All Saints since 2007, and Tom Hutt, global head of music - responsible for the AllSaints Basement Sessions initiative - have also left.

The reasons for the departures are unclear but Drapers understands there are likely to be more exits from All Saints’ senior team over the coming weeks. A new head for the US business is expected to be appointed at the beginning of March.

Sources close to the retailer claimed sales had been particularly dampened by disappointing womenswear trading. However, a spokeswoman for AllSaints said sales had been “managed down deliberately” as part of a new strategy to reduce discounting.

“Like-for-likes are down but gross margin is up more than 10%,” she added, saying the retailer expected to show operating profit of around £6m for the full year to the end of January 2013.

AllSaints was rescued from the brink of administration by a consortium led by private equity firm Lion Capital in May 2011. This was later followed by high-profile departures including that of former chief executive Stephen Craig in September 2011 and chairman Kevin Stanford in October last year.

At the time, Lion Capital said its intention was to get the business “back on track” and last September hired William Kim, former Burberry senior vice-president of retail and digital commerce, as chief executive.

AllSaints will open a store in Beverly Hills in the US and its first store in Canada by the end of March.

In November, the company reported a pre-tax loss of £68.8m, and an EBITDA loss of £9.1m, for the year ending January 29, 2012.

Like-for-like declines in 2012

July -17.7%
August -26.4
September -1.7%
October -1.2%
November -11.4%
December -9.4%

Readers' comments (1)

  • All Saints just isnt cool anymore! I know they regard themselves as a premium brand but i really dont think the consumer perceive them in this way, the are a fashion brand where only the prices that are premium, which you can get away with when you are hot, but they just arent fashionable anymore. The all black clothing, dark shopfit and vintage sewing machines window was really fresh, but many people could see that the look would die and the business would have problems reinventing. The same will happen to Superdry!

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