Tuesday 19 September 2017

Jack Wills expands into mainland Europe in bid to offset impact of Brexit-hit pound

Jack Wills bonded peacoat
Jack Wills bonded peacoat

Ben Woods

British fashion brand Jack Wills has expanded into mainland Europe as it looks to offset the impact of the Brexit-hit pound.

The retailer, famous for its tweed blazers and hoodies, is launching a new shop in Sylt, Northern Germany, amid plans to roll out 11 more international stores in the coming months.

It comes as British firms grapple with rising import prices as a result of sterling's slump since the Brexit vote, with some having to pass down the costs to consumers.

Founder and chief executive Peter Williams told the Press Association: "It is only natural that we look to expand our store footprint internationally as we grow as a business and look to reach new customers.

"Our increasingly international store portfolio provides a natural hedge as we look to reap the benefits of a diversified currency base in the face of a prolonged weakening of the sterling."

The firm chose Sylt - a luxury German holiday resort and home to the Windsurf Worldcup - after launching stores in the US resorts of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard in America.

Mr Williams, who returned to the role of CEO in 2015, has been looking to breathe fresh life into the business after teaming up with private equity outfit Bluegem to buy out the retailer in October last year, signalling the departure of long-term investor Inflexion.

Turnover grew by 4pc to £137.4m for the year ending January 2016, while earnings came in at £5.1m, according to the latest available accounts on Companies House.

Jack Wills, which was founded in 1999 in the British seaside town of Salcombe, has 90 stores across the UK, the US, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Middle East.

Press Association

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