Retail veteran Sir Philip Green has suffered falling sales at his fashion empire, ever since he sold the loss-making BHS chain for £1.
Pre-tax profits at Taveta Investments, the group which includes Arcadia brands Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, Burton and Evans, rose 6.5% to £214.3m, not including £12.3m of one-off costs partly relating to international expansion.
Total sales increased nearly 2% to £2.07bn in the year to 29 August as the company opened five joint Topshop and Topman stores in the States and 77 franchise outlets glaoblly, 34 of which were Topshop and Topman outlets.
In the 10 weeks since the end of August, sales at established stores fell 2.3%, compared with the same period last year, following a bout of unseasonably warm weather that has hurt several of Britain’s high street fashion chains.
Underlying UK like-for-like sales from the Arcadia brands, not BHS, fell by 0.9% in the year to August 29.
According to the FT, Sir Philip said the trading reflected the difficult conditions on the high street.
“The last [several] weeks have been soft,” he said. “I don’t want to make excuses. It has been very, very mild.”
He said sales had improved since temperatures had dropped.
“As I go through all the brands, it has been basically related to cold weather. If I look at Saturday, Sunday and Monday, this last week, which is the first serious cold snap, we have got double-figure sales [increases],” he cited.
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“We have to participate, because that is what the high street is going to be doing,” he said.
Online sales grew 23.9% worldwide while sales at established stores dropped 0.9%, an indicator of shoppers’ changing consumption habits.
Green shut up 86 UK shops in response (their leases expired), bringing the total stores estate to 2,358. In recent months the group has however, opened 14 outlets in five Tesco stores in a trial scheme that gives Dorothy Perkins, Burton and Evans more exposure.
Next year Topshop will launch a new athletic streetwear brand in collaboration with singer Beyoncé. The venture, known as Parkwood Topshop Athletic, is a 50-50 partnership that was announced a year ago. It will produce clothing, footwear and accessories for fitness, sport and dance. In an update on Wednesday, Taveta confirmed the brand will launch in Spring 2016.