Friday 18 October 2019

Quiz profits plunge amid slump in UK consumer confidence

Quiz reported a 97pc slump in pre-tax profits (PA)
Quiz reported a 97pc slump in pre-tax profits (PA)
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Clothing retailer Quiz has seen full-year profits almost entirely evaporate, plunging amid "challenging trading conditions".

The fast fashion business saw pre-tax profits dive by 97pc to £200,000 (€224,000) for the year to March 2019, down from £8.5m (€9.5m) a year earlier.

The firm blamed the downturn in profitability on the decline in main street footfall and weakened consumer confidence amid political uncertainty.

The clothing company has a small number of stand alone stores in Ireland, including one at Dublin’s Ilac Shopping Centre and another at Blanchardstown Centre.

In addition, it operates through a number of concessions here.

The group said its stores and concessions in Ireland and Spain performed “in line with expectations” during the period with revenues increasing by £900,000 (€1m).

Despite concerns over consumer spending, Quiz reported a 12pc jump in revenue to £130.8m for the year.

Quiz reported revenue growth "across all channels", but was particularly buoyed by a jump in online sales, up 32pc to £41m for the year.

In January and March this year, the retailer warned that profits would be lower than expected as growth came in under expectations.

Quiz said it has now concluded a review process it started in March to analyse how it can "restore profitable growth" amid the volatile trading environment.

Following the review, it said there will be "sharper focus" on seizing opportunities for continued online growth.

It said it will also look to short-term measures to improve profitability, including terminating some third-party online contracts, a reduction in its exposure to UK department stores and active management of its store estate as leases come up for renewal.

During the year, it opened three new standalone stores and 25 concessions, although it also closed two stores and a concession site.

Tarak Ramzan, founder and chief executive officer, said: "Despite the challenges faced by the group during the period, Quiz's focus has remained as strong as ever on delivering great products at outstanding value, thereby strengthening our brand's positive reputation amongst a growing customer base.

"As a result, we have continued to achieve sales growth across our omnichannel model both in the UK and internationally.

"Whilst trading conditions have remained challenging in the year to date, the board remains confident that underpinned by our flexible business model and an increasing online focus, the group can return to sustainable profitable growth."

(Additional reporting PA)

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