What happened when clothing chain Jigsaw stopped discounting products?
By Carlene Thomas Bailey

Hint: sales went up and it reported a record performance. Is it time more retailers followed suit? WGSN reports.

Jan 05, 2016
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Ok, so  all that mild winter weather wasn’t an issue for one UK fashion retailer. Step forward Jigsaw to much applause after reporting strong Christmas trading late Monday. No fluke, because this was its second “record” performance in a row.

Double-digit sales growth and “significant” margin improvement are not going to be featured that often in the avalanche of upcoming trading statements.

Free from discounting and boosted by its price manifesto, total sales for the five weeks to January 2 jumped 19% on-year with comps rising 13%.

Jigsaw said all channels delivered “stellar performances”, with standalone stores posting a double-digit increase. In the Christmas week alone, online sales were up 31%, with mobile sales jumping 115%.

CEO Peter Ruis said he was “delighted” with the strong performance, adding: “We beat the year across every channel with an accessories gifting peak in the last 10 days.”

The upmarket clothing chain was one of few retailers who chose not to discount in the Black Friday sales. Ruis said that strong figures were a result of this decision and the focus on selling quality products to its loyal customers. The retailer began promotions on Christmas Eve.

Pointedly, Ruis added: “Discounting across the industry has gone completely wrong, customers no longer understand the value of a product if for 18 weeks out of 26 weeks there is a promotion.”

The privately-run business opened seven stores last year, and is planning a further 10 this year which will take the total to 85 across the country.

The group also aims to expand in more European countries this year and will also acquire control of its Australian arm in March. Jigsaw also operates  in California, Abu Dhabi,  Dubai, Singapore and South Africa.

LIKE THIS? Read our guest blog on the value of artisan and handcraft clothes here.

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