Sales at Selfridges UK stores bounced back last year but remained loss-making
After a 40% drop in sales during 2020 and a swing to major losses due to the pandemic, 2021 was much better for the four UK Selfridges stores (albeit still loss-making), its just-filed accounts have shown.
In the 52 weeks ended 29 January 2022, Selfridges Retail Limited revenue rose 28% to £653.4 million. That didn't get the company back to the £852.9 million it had generated in revenue in the 12 months before Covid hit. But it was a start and reflected the end of lockdowns, greater confidence among shoppers about going into physical stores and the slow return of international tourists.
The company’s stores had been closed at the start of 2021 but overall they were open for a greater proportion of the financial period in question than during the previous year.
However, it still made an operating loss for the latest 52 weeks of £38.1 million, although this was better than the restated £136.9 million loss of a year earlier. The post-tax loss was £83.9 million, narrower than the prior year’s £175.4 million.
During the year the company took a number of steps that strengthened its balance sheet, receiving investments from its immediate parent company adding up to a net £50 million.
Of course, looking at the income statement for the period that ended nine months ago feels a bit like a different world given what has happened to Selfridges since then. The company has been bought for a rumoured £4 billion by a conglomerate of Thailand’s Central Group and Austria’s Signa Group.
And the recovery of UK retail got under way with international tourists returning to the country in relatively large numbers and British shoppers also feeling more confident about going into stores.
On the downside, along with that, the cost-of-living crisis is affecting British consumers and the past two months have seen a wider downturn in UK retail. It’s unclear yet whether the more affluent shoppers who makes Selfridges a regular habit are still shopping in large numbers.
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