Oasis-Warehouse turnaround starts but still a work in progress
The tough trading backdrop continues to colour results for The Oasis and Warehouse Group with the year to March 2 showing the firm is still in turnaround mode. But at least pre-tax profit was £1.6 million, much better than a loss of £10.1 million the previous year.
The company, which is owned by failed Icelandic bank Kaupthing, said total sales rose 6.5% to £293.2 million as it was a 53-week year, but in the comparable 52 weeks to March 2, total sales dropped 2% to £270 million.
But there were some bright spots as that pre-tax profit figure quoted above shows. Additionally, like-for-like sales were up ever-so-slightly (0.2%) and there was welcome news regarding online sales as they rose 17%. Given that they now account for as much as 30% of total turnover, that was encouraging.
The two brands, which are led by Hash Ladha and have 575 stores between them (109 directly-operated and the rest concessions), faced a retail environment that was tough during the period.
But while it’s closing some stores, it also has opening plans and will open more concessions in Sainsbury’s supermarkets as that chain becomes a more important fashion destination. It currently has five Sainsbury’s sites up and running.
And Ladha said that while he doesn’t expect conditions to materially improve in the medium term, the continued focus on efficiencies and its recovery strategy "positions us well for the future.” He also said Brexit continues to create uncertainty for the fashion sector and is denting consumer spend.
The company recently moved into menswear for the first time, acquiring The Idle Man, the five-year-old multi brand and own-brand menswear retailer. This should boost results as it takes the group into a segment with strong growth prospects and also adds to its booming online business.
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