White Stuff makes a loss after SS17 range disappoints

The “extremely challenging” trading environment in the UK coupled with disappointing sales have pushed White Stuff into the red, the British lifestyle company admitted in its latest accounts.

White Stuff

It made a loss after tax of £8.2 million for the year ended 28 April 2018, compared with a profit of £4 million a year earlier. It blamed the performance on the tough and uncertain macro-economic environment and a decline in consumer spending.

But the truth is that some of White Stuff’s product failed to perform as expected, particularly its SS17 range, which “did not resonate with customers and did impact the performance for the year”, the company said.

The fashion and homeware chain, which has 130 stores and 47 concessions, tried to improve its product range with a test and learn approach, but the strategy backfired.

Total sales fell by 6.2% to £9.5 million, while total shop sales decreased 10.9% on the previous year. Its e-commerce channel performed better, up 3.5% to £43.7 million, reflecting a continued effort to boost online sales by launching a new web platform. Online sales now represent 30% of the total sales.

Wholesale also grew slightly, contributing £9.2m to total revenues (up 1.1% on the previous year). Meanwhile, international sales increased 7.5% and there was an encouraging trend in the second half, particularly in Germany, the company said.

Whilst the product trials hit the company in 2017, it said it learned its lesson and that its Summer 2018 range is seeing a much improved product performance.

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