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Edinburgh Woollen Mill profits rise, losses narrow at Jaeger

By Huw Hughes

5 Dec 2019

Philip Day’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group (EWM Group) has reported strong profit growth in its latest financial figures, while losses at its premium fashion brand Jaeger have considerably narrowed.

The group, which also owns brands such as Peacocks, Austin Reed and Jane Norman, reported a profit after tax for the 27-week period to 2 March 2019 of 23.4 million pounds, on sales of 327.14 million pounds.

It is difficult to accurately compare these latest results with those of the prior year because in 2018 the group reported on a 78-week period ending August.

The Edinburgh Woollen Mill brand itself, as opposed to the group, posted a profit after tax of 12 million pounds, while the group's discount fashion retailer Peacocks, which was recently named the preferred bidder for a potential takeover of British womenswear retailer Bonmarché, posted a profit after tax of 17 million pounds.

Jaeger cuts losses

The group's upmarket brand Jaeger, which was acquired by EWM Group in 2017 after falling into administration, saw its losses narrow significantly to 1.1 million pounds while adding seven new standalone stores and four new concession outlets to its UK portfolio. In the year before it collapsed, the brand posted a loss of 7.1 million pounds.

A spokesperson for EWM Group said in a statement: “In the face of a challenging retail environment, our relentless commitment to customers and their wants and needs has allowed us, again, to stand out from the crowd. Customers continue to look for exceptional value for money and reject low-quality, 'wear once' apparel. In response, we have continued to focus not only on retailing at a highly attractive price point, which is essential, but also ensuring a fashionable look and cut, high level of build quality, and extended product longevity across all our brands.

“The turnaround in Jaeger's fortunes validates our heavy investment in the brand and our commitment to hiring top industry talent. It also validates our approach of replacing the company's previous reliance on an unsustainable low-margin, discount-led marketing strategy with our plan to re-establish Jaeger as a badge of quality, which has been done effectively. This echoes our commitment as a group to 'first price, right price' and our resistance to an escalating discounting culture, which we have strongly resisted.”

Photo credit: Jaeger, Facebook