Fenwick losses widen as footfall remains low

Fenwick has suffered widening full-year losses after enforced store closures drove a slump in sales during the coronavirus pandemic.
Footfall has fallen at the chain’s main Bond Street store due to a lack of office workers and tourists.
// Fenwick suffers widening full-year losses after enforced store closures drive a slump in sales
// The department store retailer posted a pre-tax of loss of £111.9m in the year to January 29

Losses at Fenwick have risen to £112 million after the upmarket department store chain was forced to close shops amid Covid-19.

Sales for the year to the end of January halved from £323.7 million to £140.5 million, Fenwick said yesterday, while pre-tax losses went from £47 million to £112 million.

The 139-year-old department store chain saw net sales tumble 56 per cent to £119 million after it was forced to shut its nine shops during lockdown, including its largest location on Bond Street in London.

The pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to department stores across the UK with Debenhams collapsing and John Lewis closing outlets.

Recent figures show that 83 per cent of department stores have shut since the collapse of BHS in 2016.

The Weston family put Selfridges on the market in July however, Fenwick is “not up for sale”, chief executive John Edgar said.

It is understood there had been talks with an overseas buyer but this was thwarted by the onset of the crisis.

Fenwick has claimed £9 million in furlough support and £8.7 million in business rates relief to offset some of the damage from the pandemic, as well as cutting costs by making 300 redundancies.

Although its Bond Street store has suffered a slump in footfall because of a lack of office workers and tourists, Fenwick’s other shops have benefited from more people staying local.

The retailer also revealed that it had written down its store value to £376 million although Edgar said that the market value of its freehold properties was at least £300 million higher.

“These results reflect the challenges that the retail sector faced in 2020,” Edgar said.

“I’m very proud of the way the Fenwick team adapted to these challenges to provide customers with our trademark Fenwick hospitality, rapidly scale up our online offer and introduce new services such as concierge.

“We are now focused on ensuring our nine stores and website continue to build stability and serve our local communities in the year ahead.”

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1 COMMENT

  1. I like Fenwick but sorry to say I rarely use the Canterbury store which I preferred when it was Riceman’s of Canterbury and originally of Deal Kent.

    It was much better. For the area they have priced themselves out of the market. I really only wish and hope that the store remains in the city but I would much rather a John Lewis there though I realise there are no new Waitrose or John Lewis stores opening any more.

    I just hope Fenwick remain in Canterbury. It’s much quieter than it used to be and the store is the only major department store other than M and S in the city with a full line store and other than the full line M and S at Westwood Cross currently owned by Land Securities.

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