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Growth at Jaeger slows

Profits at womenswear chain Jaeger halved in the year to February 28.

Jaeger, which is owned by British Fashion Council chairman Harold Tillman, notched up a pre-tax profit of £1m, a fall from £2.1m reported in the previous year.

Sales during the year rose 4% to £85.5m. It is the slowest rate of sales growth at the upmarket label since Tillman rescued it in 2003, according to the Times newspaper. It also reported that Tillman paid himself a £5m dividend, his first in six years. Jaeger added that EBITDA was level on last year and that it had invested £20m in the business during the period as part of its turnaround strategy.

Tillman, who bought British heritage brand Aquascutum in September to add to the Jaeger business, said that Jaeger chief executive Belinda Earl’s leadership of the brand had enabled him to buy Aquascutum.

He said: “It gave us the freedom to go out and buy another business, to put this little bit of magic into Aquascutum, which is going to benefit from the experience we have from Jaeger.”

Tillman bought Jaeger which was on the brink of collapse in 2003 after it was spun off from Coats Viyella.

Tillman added that the brand, which celebrated its 125th birthday this year, has reported improved trading since the year end in February.

“I’m knocking wood, but we’re very comfortable with trading this year. We’re very conservative and it’s not an aggressively driven business. In the last 12 months we have been increasing turnover on product that has improved and increased in variety while also increasing selling space.”

He added that accessories would be one of the main focuses for Aquascutum. “There will be a lot more across the product spectrum. The brand is recognised internationally – we have to extend its ability to be purchased around the world.”  

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