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Kookaï sales slump after repositioning

Sales at Kookaï UK, the womenswear chain, dropped 30% in the year to August 28 while pre-tax losses held firm during the period at £3.3m.

Turnover at the retailer, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of French company Kookai SA and is minority-owned by investor Amery Capital and French parent Kookaï, fell £4.46m in the UK to £10.4m. Pre-tax losses were £3.1m in the previous year.

The fall-off in sales came in the year when the business brought the brand in line with the French business in terms of product and positioning. It is understood that as a result a number of stores were closed to focus on the businesses core portfolio.

It is understood that a spend of £763,824 during the year to deliver cost savings in the UK related to a broader restructuring at the French parent company.

In November 2009, at the time that Kookaï UK said it would reposition the business, UK managing director Matthieu Dietsch said price points had moved upwards to sit just below those of French Connection.

Dietsch also outlined plans to adjust the business’s concession-heavy strategy to include more company-owned stores. Kookaï opened a standalone store in St Christopher’s Place in central London in 2009 and launched a transactional website during the same year. By the end of the year to August 28, 2010, the business had four UK standalone stores as well as 36 concessions in department stores including House of Fraser and John Lewis.

A source close to the business told Drapers that the website and concessions in John Lewis had been performing particularly well since the year end for Kookaï UK, in what is undoubtedly a tough trading climate.

In documents filed by the firm at Companies House, the directors said: “[We] are confident the new measures will significantly improve performance.”

In 2006, retail entrepreneur Maurice Helfgott’s investment vehicle Amery Capital formed a joint venture with the Kookaï parent company, which is a subsidiary of the Vivarte Group, in order to run Kookaï UK. The joint venture brought the business out of administration.

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