Quiz surges again as online, global and UK all outperform
International growth and “outstanding online momentum” were what fuelled fashion retailer Quiz Clothing in the year to March 31 as it enjoyed 12 months of further impressive performance with just about every measure rising in high double-digits.
That said, the company clearly invested to achieve sales growth and some profit was sacrificed as group revenue rose 30%, but earnings growth was a little slower.
Group revenue reached £116.4 million, up from £89.8 million a year ago, while underlying Ebitda was up 24% to £12.7 million. The underlying figure excludes the costs associated with the company’s stock market listing, and Ebitda rose by a smaller amount when those costs were included (up to £11.5 million from £10.3 million).
Underlying pre-tax profit rose 20% to reach £9.8 million, although it was only £8.5 million once those listing costs were taken into account.
But regardless of the fine print, the company is undeniably firing on all cylinders and saw “strong” growth across all channels.
As mentioned, its online performance was particularly outstanding with a 158% rise to reach £30.6 million with the active online customer base increasing 87% to 370,000. Understandably, the company continued to invest in its online operations with new Android and iOS apps launched in the second half. It also launched a local language website in Spain, plus its first international online partnership (with Zalando), and a US website.
Operations outside of the UK/Ireland were also key to the year’s growth when it came to physical stores. Underlying international sales rose 32% to £21.2 million and the company opened its first three international standalone stores in Spain.
In December, it had “a landmark moment” with its first direct sales in the US through a New York department store and sales have recently started to a number of stores and a third party website on a wholesale basis. “The initial positive response provides insights and encouragement with regards to the development of our own website,” it said.
UK stores and concessions revenue may have risen more slowly but both areas were still healthy and increased 12% to £64.6 million.
Founder and CEO Tarak Ramzan also hailed the debut of the company’s Curve and Bridal ranges, its menswear offer Quizman (which seems to be going well) and its Quiz x Towie Capsule collection. They drove growth last year and offer potential for further growth in the current period.
But will it be as easy to achieve explosive growth in this financial year as it was last time? The company mentioned the overall UK retail environment, which saw softening footfall in April and said that this affected its performance in UK stores during the month.
However, it also said that since then, “we have been encouraged by a strong recovery in UK store and concession sales.”
For this year, it will continue to focus on its three key growth strategies, which include growing the share of online sales from the current 26% to at least 35% in the medium term.
Quiz will also expand its existing international footprint. It’s currently in 78 locations in 20 countries with international sales accounting for 18% of group revenue. The expansion in this area will include online, standalone stores, concessions, and franchise and wholesale partners.
And it will continue to focus on growing its UK store network, both as standalones and concessions. It currently operates 71 stores in the UK and the board “believes that there is the potential for a further 40 to 50 stores across the country in the medium-to-long term.” But it added that “each new standalone store must meet a strict internal return-on-investment criteria and Quiz carefully selects sites on that basis.”
The group is also looking to open slightly bigger stores of approximately 2,500 to 3,500 sq ft to accommodate a broader product range.
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