Clothing & Shoes

Jack Wills hit by £7.5m loss

Fashion retailer Jack Wills suffered an EBITDA loss of £7.5m for the full year to 28 January 2018 compared with £6.3m profit in the previous year.

The company’s turnover dropped by 1.1% for the year to £129.3m down from 2017’s figure of £130.8m. Jack Wills attributed this to a “challenging year” in the retail sector as well as the continued constraints of “consumer finances”. Its gross margin earned on sales decreased by 50.98% in the year.

During the period, the retailer also saw 11 of its directors resign including its founder Peter Williams who departed in September following an argument between him and the company’s majority stakeholder, BlueGem Capital Partners.

In the trading update, the company said it would be focusing on expansion through wholly owned and franchise stores, evident in the opening of 12 shops during 2018 and one closure. However, in February, reports claimed the company was looking to sell four of its stores in a bid to cut costs.

A Jack Wills spokesperson said: “It is true that 2017/18 was a challenging year for Jack Wills but the business has moved on significantly since then. The improved processes and tighter financial disciplines we have put in place helped halve the EBITDA loss for 2018/19.

“Looking forward, Jack Wills recently completed a significant refinancing, with continued support from our major shareholder, BlueGem. This puts us on a firm footing as we seek to return to sustainable growth by improving our product range and re-engaging with customers via the right channels.”

They added: “We have moved to a standard corporate structure where the only stat directors are the CEO and CFO.”

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