Fashion retailer Jacques Vert has seen a slight year-on-year increase in profits despite a small drop in gross margin, full-year results released today reveal.
Total sales for the 53 weeks to April 30th 2011 rose 2.6 per cent to £118.4 million whilst like-for-like (LFL) trading grew by two per cent compared to the previous 12 months.
The retailer, which owns the Jacques Vert, Windsmoor, Planet and Precis womenswear brands, reduced the number of outlets it operated from by 86 to 874 during the year but still managed to improve its profit before tax from £5.1 million in 2010 to £5.3 million this year.
Business remained tough during the 12 months leading to an increase in the level and frequency of markdowns, which along with increased cost pressures from suppliers meant gross margins were cut fractionally by 0.9 per cent to 62.8 per cent.
Steve Bodger, Chairman of Jacques Vert, commented: “With positive LFL sales, our brands have performed well in what has been a difficult trading environment. Operationally, we have taken significant steps forward and are well positioned for the future.
“Although we have made a good start to the new financial year we remain cautious for the year as a whole.”
Pre-tax profits for the first half of the year totalled £3.1 million, reflecting a downturn in profitability during the second half despite this period including the Christmas sales.
Significant investments in its supply chain and internal systems were made during the year in order to improve its online capabilities and the company has confirmed it will continue to develop these sides to its business to try and push up margins.
An increased final dividend of three per cent to 0.67p per share has been proposed by the board for this year after the firm returned to the dividend list in 2010.
Bodger added: “Our return to the dividend list last year after such a long absence, was well received so I am very pleased we are proposing a higher payment this year.”