Back in fashion: Jack Wills returns to profit after slashing promotional activity

Chief executive Peter Williams said momentum had returned to the business

Retailer Jack Wills is back in the black, after weathering a “tough consumer environment”, and focusing on slashing discounting.

The group made an operating profit of £730,000 in the year to January, compared to a loss of £13.8m the year before. The firm said it had absorbed £1.7m of costs associated with the BlueGem acquisition. Sales rose four per cent to £142.4m from £137.4m last year.

The company had previously been suffering due to problems with the outsourcing of its distribution centre, with co-founder Peter Williams returning in 2015 to take the helm. He teamed up with private equity firm BlueGem Capital Partners, which owns London department store Liberty, as part of a multi-million pound buyout of the preppy clothing empire in October last year.

Jack Wills said profit transformation had continued into 2017/18 thanks to ongoing efficiency programmes.

The retailer has been ramping up expansion plans of late, announcing in May the opening of its first store in Germany.

Jack Wills secured £10m in funding for its international expansion over a year ago, when HSBC decided to increase its credit facility to the retailer to £30m. Now, Jack Wills has 90 shops across the world.

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