Jack Wills sales rise but operating losses continue to grow


Outsourcing issues meant Jack Wills’ operating losses grew in the year to February, but at least sales still rose 2.1% to £132m despite the problems.

While the fashion chain’s ebitda increased 12.5% to £8.1m, operating loss widened to £8.8m from £5.8m the year before.

Co-founder and returning CEO Peter Williams told Drapers the business decided to outsource the operation of its distribution centre in west London, in 2014 to support its domestic and international growth.

But the transition “wasn’t seamless”, he said, and sales suffered as it struggled with fulfilment, particularly during the key Christmas period last year.

However, Williams’ focus now is on the upcoming Christmas trading period. “It was very challenging last year because of the distribution centre. That’s now running absolutely fine. It had its largest ever throughput last week or the week before [and] it was a sea of calm. That was a relief. I’m feeling really excited about the next chapter.”

Next year, he foresees more stores opening in the UK and expansion in its existing international markets. The retailer has 79 stores globally, of which 56 are in the UK and Ireland, 12 in the US, five in Hong Kong, one in Singapore, one in Macau and four in the Middle East (Kuwait, Dubai and Lebanon).

STAY UP TO DATE: You want the need-to-know news, right? Our journalists deliver a daily curation of the most important industry happenings. Sound good? Join WGSN.

Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.