A solid trading performance in the final quarter of the year leaves the Group well placed to deliver underlying profit before tax in line with market expectations.
Total Group sales for the quarter have increased by 15.3% to £86.8m and in the 52 weeks to 28 April 2013 by 14.7% to £360.1m.
Total retail sales in the 13-week period were £43.8m, an increase of 10.9% on the comparable period last year and both the internet and the Group’s standalone stores performed well. Like-for-like sales for the quarter were up 5.0% and in the year to date +6.9%. Total sales growth for the full year is 18.3%.
The Group opened 28,000 square feet in the quarter, including the 16,000 square feet northern flagship store at Leeds Trinity and one store in Paris. During the year the Group added a total of 66,000 square feet and the owned portfolio now stands at 113 stores trading from 537,000 square feet.
Wholesale sales for the 13-week period were £43.0m, +20.2% on the prior year. For the full year sales growth was up 9.2% and continues to be driven by strong international demand for the brand.
The portfolio of franchised locations has increased by a net 5 during the quarter to 144, with stores opened in France, Spain, Denmark, India and Lebanon, with stores closing in Italy and Jordan.
Julian Dunkerton, Chief Executive Officer, commented:
“I am pleased that the fourth quarter has seen a good trading performance against the backdrop of a challenging market given the extended period of cold weather in early spring. We have delivered solid sales and profit growth this year at the same time as enhancing financial and operational processes. In addition we have made significant progress with developing our product ranges, especially the improvements in womenswear styling.
“After a year of consolidation, financial year 2014 will see the Group start to move back towards historic levels of space growth as it develops its European presence. The investments in I.T. and logistics will continue to secure and strengthen the business and, with further developments in our ranges planned, I am encouraged by the Group's prospects.”
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