The White Company sees profits increase despite ‘extremely challenging’ year
Image: The White Company, Facebook

The White Company has reported an increase in profit and turnover in the 52 weeks to August 1 2020, despite the last five months of the year being impacted by the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The British apparel and homeware retailer’s operating profit in the year increased 4 percent to 14.1 million pounds, while turnover also increased 4 percent to 226.3 million pounds.

But the performance dynamics of the company were very different between the first seven months and final five months of the year. Prior to the pandemic, the retailer said it saw “similar levels of growth” across its store and digital channels.

But between March and mid-June it was forced to close its stores during the first national lockdown. The company said it saw strong consumer demand through its digital channel, allowing it to mitigate “a large portion” of the lost trade from the stores. It meant that overall sales in the final five months of the financial year saw only a slight decline.

‘Cautiously optimistic’ as stores reopen

The retailer also managed to open two new stores and two new concessions in the UK during the year, bringing its total store portfolio in the UK to 61, including 11 concessions.

The White Company also continued to trade from two stores in Ireland and one store in the US, after having closed its other US store during the year.

Since August, the company said trading has been “positive”, supported by “a greater consumer appetite for home and gifting products”. It said it remains “cautiously optimistic” for the future but is “conscious of the uncertainties within the retail sector as we transition out of lockdown”.

CEO Mary Homer said the year had been “extremely challenging” but was upbeat overall with the company’s results “from a turnover and profit perspective”.

“Our strategy to make further strides with our international growth, digital transformation and IT infrastructure remains the same, and this is instrumental in ensuring we achieve future growth,” Homer said in a release.

“Overall, as a business, we are in a strong position - trade during this current year has been positive, and we are cautiously optimistic, albeit we know there are many challenges ahead for the economy, and therefore the retail sector.”

 

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