Nov 23, 2017
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Karen Millen cuts losses under new CEO

Nov 23, 2017

Womenswear brand Karen Millen managed to narrow its annual losses by 12% despite suffering a slight decline in sales, in a ‘year of change’ which saw the arrival of Beth Butterwick as new CEO.

Karen Millen

While sales for the year to February 28 dipped 1.2% to £158.8 million, operating losses improved by 12% to £9.2 million, compared to the previous year.

Meanwhile, gross profit rose 1.6% to £95.4 million.

The retailer, which had been hit by the high street’s challenging retail conditions, welcomed former Bonmarché boss Beth Butterwick as its new chief executive officer in June 2016, while Emily Tate joined the business as chief financial officer in September.

Additionally, the company launched an improved online platform, added more delivery options and embarked on a strategic review.

Butterwick said: “This has been a year of change at Karen Millen as we stabilised the business to prepare the ground for a return to profitable growth. The changes are already having an impact, with our new web platform driving a significant year-on-year growth in our digital business.

“Our work to understand our customer and put the confident purpose that she has traditionally associated with Karen Millen back into our brand and collections is, similarly, already having a positive effect.

“With more than 50 per cent of our revenue coming from overseas, we’re positioned favourably to weather the ongoing challenging market conditions in the UK.”

In previous interviews, the CEO has said she plans to turn Karen Millen into a lifestyle brand, improve its existing collections and bolster its digital growth.

In May, she announced that the company was going to increase prices by around 5% in the autumn due to the weakened pound, but reassured shoppers that entre level prices would remain the same.  

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