Allsaints has revealed it experienced a big hit to its sales in 2020 as the pandemic took its toll on the business, but said it saw signs of recovery last year.
The London-based retailer said it began 2020 with “strong momentum and a clear strategy”. It said the period up to January 2020 had been the “most successful financial performance in the brand's 25-year history”.
But then as the year progressed, Covid forced the retailer’s stores to close across the UK, Europe, North America and Asia, resulting in a 28 percent year-over-year drop in revenue to 261.5 million pounds in the 52 weeks to January 31 2021.
In summer 2020, Allsaints launched a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) to streamline its UK and US store estates.
The goal was to transition most of its 41 stores in the UK and 42 stores in North America to turnover-based rent. It said at the time a small number of stores would close “where business is not feasible”.
Back to the results. On a brighter note from the overall sales decrease, Allsaints reported a 53 percent increase in online sales during the period as Covid forced consumers to shift their shopping habits.
Online sales represented 48 percent of overall revenue during the year, up from 23 percent the year before.
Allsaints remained profitable in 2020
Despite the overall drop in sales, the company managed to stay in the black, posting an operating profit of 0.65 million pounds, down from 9.4 million pounds a year earlier.
Looking at its more recent performance, Allsaints said Covid-19 continued to “adversely impact trading” in 2021.
But it said overall “trading across the store portfolio has shown an improving trend as footfall has returned” as vaccination programmes gathered momentum.
Allsaints said its directors “are pleased with the 2021 performance so far” in comparison to the plans set out at the start of the 2022 financial period, and that there has been “positive customer reactions to new product launches”.
“This reaction, coupled with tight management of inventory and a return to the pre-pandemic trading strategy of targeted promotions, has seen an improving gross margin performance,” it said.