Positive Inspecs enjoys record sales, eyes 2023 strength too
As if mirroring the buoyancy of the wider, buzzing domestic eyewear market, UK-based global producer and retailer Inspecs has just reported record sales for the year ended 31 December. And the prospects for 2023 are looking good too.
That comes amid upheaval for the business with key management changes (a new CEO and CFO and a retiring chairman), cost cuts, and a tougher set of results endured in the first nine months, hit by unfavourable foreign exchange movements in its European ops.
So in the words of a “pleased”, new chief executive Richard Peck: “It was a year of two halves.”
Peck, who came on board at the start of December is overseeing a turnaround with “positive initiatives set in place”, backed by a “resilient growing” eyewear market.
Key to the Bath-based designer, maker and retailer’s business is producing and selling a raft of external brands’ fashion eyewear, including Superdry, O’Neill, Radley, Farah, Ted Baker, Lulu Guinness, Talbot Runhof and Marc O’Polo, as well as its owned brands.
"Sales of our branded products, including Botaniq, Superdry and Savile Row Titanium, gained momentum during the year, and the expansion of branded products is a core part of our growth strategy moving forward,” he noted.
So for the year, although group revenue rose only modestly to $248.6 million from $246.5 million a year ago (the company reports in US dollars), it was still a record performance. Group revenue at constant exchange rates also rose to $265.7 million from $246.5 million.
But while gross profit rose 5.6% to $122.3 million, costs took a bite out of its adjusted underlying EBITDA, falling to $19.2 million from $27.6 million. The loss before tax widened to $9.5 million from $9.1 million.
In the year, it also sold a record 10.7 million frames globally, up from 10.4 million a year ago, thanks to a distribution network covering over 80 countries and reaching around 75,000 points of sale.
Current trading for Q1 is also ahead of 12 months ago, driven in part by a rebound in its European markets and continued growth in other markets, it said.
“Looking ahead, we are optimistic about the future growth and success of the group. There are a number of exciting opportunities on the horizon, including the opening up of China, the upcoming launch of key brands, Barbour and Superdry in new markets like North America and Asia, and the strong performance of our proprietary brands: Titanflex, Humphrey's, Botaniq, Savile Row and Jos.
“In addition, we have a good order book in our factories and are seeing synergies from making more of our own products in our own factories and combining locations across the world.”
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