All Saints upbeat as profits surge, expansion accelerates
UK fashion retailer All Saints has seen a fourth successive year of growth with sales in the year to January 30 up 9% to £252.5m from £231.3m.
The Lion Capital-owned company, which five years ago had been struggling and was in danger of going into administration, saw UK sales up 7.4% last year to £144.3m while international sales rose 12% to £108.2m. Online sales also rose, to £47.3m from £35.6m, and profits before exceptional items rose 18% to £28.5m.
The company’s bags business was particularly strong, as was menswear. The handbags success came on the back of last year’s launch of the Capital collection. Overseen by creative director Will Beedle it was the result of a collaboration with Seoul-based handbag specialist Simone.
Following the release of the figures, CEO William Kim poured cold water on rumours that the recent success could lead Lion Capital to put the brand up for sale and book a heavy profit from its investment. He said the Lion-All Saints partnership will be key as it rolls out further globally.
The company's core business is in the UK but it currently trades in 18 countries with 43% of its sales being made internationally, including in the US, which is its biggest international market. North American sales rose 9.1% to £83m last year.
It sees Asia as a major growth opportunity and wants non-US international sales to represent one-third of the total by 2020, by when it should be in 35 countries. Asian sales more-than-tripled to £8.4m in the latest year.
The company opened 23 stores outside of Britain in the last financial year, including key new stores in the US, South Korea and Taiwan. It also entered the Middle East for the first time with a debut in the Mall of Emirates in partnership with Majid Al Futtaim and debuted in Japan, its third directly-operated market in Asia (after Hong Kong and Taiwan).
However, All Saints’ domestic market remains significant and the company has been renovating its stores, including revamps for its concessions in Selfridges in Birmingham and Manchester.
Kim said the company’s international diversity had protected it from currency-related negative effects before and since the Brexit vote and hinted that UK prices may not rise as some other retailers have suggested. He referred to earlier issues with the Russian rouble where the company managed to largely keep prices stable.
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