Jack Wills swings to £7.5m loss after “challenging year”

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Jack Wills Philip Day
// Jack Wills suffers full-year loss of £7.5m
// Losses blamed on “highly competitive” clothing market
// Sales declined by 1.1% to £129.3m

Jack Wills has swung to a full-year loss in its latest trading update, laying bare the challenges it is facing amid wider a decline on the UK high street.

The fashion retailer suffered an EBITDA loss of £7.5 million in the year to January 28, 2018, compared to a profit of £6.3 million in the previous year, according files submitted to Companies House.

Meanwhile, sales declined by 1.1 per cent to £129.3 million thanks to a “challenging year”.

Gross margins decreased from 55.9 per cent in 2016/17 to 50.9 per cent in 2017/18.

The retailer blamed the downhill spiral on the “highly competitive” clothing market and “constrained” consumer finances.

Former Debenhams executive Suzanne Harlow was drafted in to lead the retailer after having been an advisor to the company.

A spokesman for Jack Wills 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.

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

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