Fenwick profits plummet 31%

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Fenwick

Markdowns and digital investments have led to Fenwick taking a major hit in its full-year profits.

According to Companies House documents to be filed in the coming weeks and seen by Retail Week, pre-tax profit plummeted 31.2 per cent to £30.4 million in the year ending January 27.

The department store retailer’s operating profit also slumped 29.6 per cent to £17.8 million during the same period.

Gross profit margins slipped 0.7 per cent, but gross sales remained flat at £426.3 million.

Fenwick said profits were hit by in-store markdowns to “address overcapacity” on some product lines and investments in its IT systems and digital infrastructure to improve the “exchange and analysis of data” and to “modernise internal processes”.

Ongoing investment is also going towards the launch of a full online proposition for the first time in 2019, which will offer home deliveries and click-and-collect.

Meanwhile, its capital expenditure reached £29.7 million during the year, and this factored in the opening of a brand new store in Colchester.

Earlier this year, Fenwick appointed former Co-op chief executive Richard Pennycook as its new chairman, and hired former Dune ecommerce director Kate Smyth as its new multichannel director.

The eponymous family-owned department store is still in the process of finding a new chief executive and independent non-executive directors, and that an announcement would be made “in due course”.

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