Belstaff sales rose last year but losses persist
UK-based luxury brand Belstaff has released its results for the whole of 2020 and it was a decidedly mixed bag with clear improvements in some areas but the INEOS-backed business was still loss-making.
On the plus side, it said that despite the pandemic, turnover rose 9.4% to £43 million. The gross margin percentage also improved from 10.8% to 17.3% year-on-year. And gross profit for the year hit £7.47 million compared with £4.35 million in the previous year.
And the bad news? The company's net liabilities grew as well, reaching £206.5 million from £175.3 million in the previous year and the operating loss was £20.4 million, almost the same as 2019’s £20 million. Meanwhile, the final loss after tax was over £31 million, wider than the £28 million of the previous year.
The company said it’s continuing to work towards further growing its revenues and boosting profitability – part of which will come through cost reduction – and is refining its retail network as it searches for “new opportunities in brand-appropriate locations that are commercially sized and at realistic rental levels”.
It added that, despite the rise in sales and gross profitability last year, the ongoing pandemic presented a number of operational and financial challenges. The company was forced to temporarily close its London head office and its UK stores for part of last year but managed to set up an efficient working-from-home operation. It also moved quickly to protect its liquidity and took advantage of UK government initiatives to reduce payroll costs, business rates and other expenses.
Importantly, it also focused heavily on its e-commerce operations and said that sales through online channels recorded fast growth and were what was responsible for the increase in turnover and gross profit. That’s particularly encouraging given that many companies that saw rising online sales still didn't manage to surpass total sales of the pre-pandemic period.
The company also said that it saw some negative effects from the changes linked to Brexit, but said these were marginal.
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