Saturday 21 July 2018

Jump in UK handbag sales as Orla Kiely invests in expansion

British-based Irish fashion designer Orla Kiely’s firm Kiely Rowan saw sales increase 15pc to €9.2m but profits shrank
British-based Irish fashion designer Orla Kiely’s firm Kiely Rowan saw sales increase 15pc to €9.2m but profits shrank

Gordon Deegan

Bumper sales in Orla Kiely handbags last year contributed to sales at the fashion designer's firm increasing by 15pc to £8.3m (€9.2m).

New accounts show that pre-tax profits at Kiely Rowan decreased by 33pc to £100,954 (€112,487) in the 12 months to the end of March this year as the company continued to invest in its expansion.

Sales in the Far East last year soared but the company's largest market remains the UK where sales increased by 21pc to £5.84m - accounting for 70pc of revenues.

In an interview, the CEO and co-owner of the business, Dermot Rowan said that the factors behind the surge in UK sales were going back "to our core values of excellent bags and introducing new lines".

On the company's overall performance, Mr Rowan said: "We are satisfied with the growth in sales and have a firm foundation on which to grow the company further.

"The increase in sales is continuing into 2018 and the company is poised to seek investment for expansion soon."

He said that handbags remain the best-selling sector in the business.

On the company's further expansion into retail outlets, Mr Rowan said: "We opened a new concept store in Brent Cross Shopping centre and will test the new concept before rolling it out.

"At the moment we are working on a pop-up store in Kildare Village.

"In Korea our store count has increased to five stores."

Asked what is the company's best-performing outlet, Mr Rowan said: "The original flagship store, Covent Garden store, continues to perform well."

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