Fenwick losses deepen amid sales drop

Fenwick losses deepen amid sales drop
Fenwick operates from nine stores across in England, all of which reopened on June 15 when non-essential retail lockdown restrictions were eased.
// Fenwick’s annual loss deepens to £46m on the back of 9% decline in annual sales
// xThese results cover the year ending January 31, before the pandemic gripped the UK

Fenwick’s annual loss has widened after a drop in sales during a full-year period that doesn’t even include the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to its results for the year ending January 31 this year, before Covid-19 gripped the UK and much of the world in a crisis, the department store chain’s overall loss came in at £49 million.

This is deeper than the loss of £46 million recorded in 2019.


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Fenwick said net sales dropped nine per cent to £271.5 m in the same full year period, which it said reflected “the difficult trading environment”.

However, the family-owned retailer narrowed its operating losses narrowed to almost £11.8 million – a significant improvement on the operating loss of £17.3 million recorded in 2019.

Fenwick operates from nine stores across in England, all of which reopened on June 15 when non-essential retail lockdown restrictions were eased.

The department store chain had been forced into lockdown in late March when the pandemic escalated in the UK.

In April, at the height of the pandemic, Richard Pennycook, Robbie Feather and Andy Doyle resigned from their respective roles as chairman, chief executive and non-executive director.

Non-executive director Steve Barber was promoted to chairman and John Edgar became chief executive.

“Due to the impact of Covid-19, we anticipate that the business will make a sizeable loss in the coming year,” Fenwick said.

“The group has put in place a two-year secured borrowing facility as part of its contingency planning and to ensure sufficient funding.”

A Fenwick spokeswoman said: “These results reflect the difficult trading environment which retailers faced even before the pandemic.

“While sales declined, there were a number of positive areas including in beauty and food, and we continued to roll out our online offer, which has since grown significantly.

“Covid-19 has brought huge challenges for Fenwick and the sector. We are performing better than we hoped, online and in-store, and continue to have strong financial foundations.

“We look forward to continuing to serve our local communities with a premium, personalised and safe shopping experience.”

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