Belstaff losses narrowed and sales rose pre-pandemic
Belstaff has filed its annual accounts for the year ended December 31 2019 and that bad news is that it still made a big loss. But on the upside, it said turnover during that period rose 29% to £39.4 million. And the gross margin percentage improved to 10.8% from 8%, while gross profit for the year rose strongly to £4.24 million from a loss of £2.43 million a year earlier.
The company made an operating loss, although the figure fell to £20 million this time from £42.6 million in the previous year. And the final loss after tax also narrowed to £28 million from £48 million.
There were few details about what has happened since, but it’s unlikely that the company swung to a profit in what was the most difficult year for fashion in decades.
The company did say that the pandemic presented a number of challenges with its head office and stores having been closed for various periods since last March. The label was selling online only for big chunks of the past year and mentioned “some reduction in demand” for its products, although it didn't say how much.
As a result, the business has been working with landlords and suppliers “to appropriately re-base our business costs whilst ensuring our customers continue to receive the higher levels of customer service Belstaff is proud to deliver.”
But it doesn't seem to be in any danger of the collapse that we’ve seen with so many other companies with the results statement also saying that it's being financially supported by its parent company when necessary.
However, it’s clearly a difficult time for the label and that has been added to by the implications linked to Brexit. This is especially the case for Belstaff given that the EU is “a significant market for the business in terms of both importing products and customer sales”.
It thinks that consumer confidence could be hurt going forward, which would reduce the level of purchases. And complications linked to the new rules around the Brexit deal could cause further issues, as could volatility in terms of currencies.
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