White Company sales and profit rise as it expands abroad

While many results reports recently have been tales of woe, there are still some companies doing well and even the recent Asos profit warning came with guidance that sales would rise ‘only’ 15%. Now The White Company’s latest figures have also shown higher sales and rising underlying profit.


The White Company


And it’s encouraging that CEO Mary Homer (the former Topshop exec) said that the “performance of this current year so far, showing growth in both revenue and profit, is extremely encouraging in the current retail climate.”

The company, which sells a range of apparel and homewares products, said that in the year to March 31, its underlying UK operating profit rose 3% to £18.1 million. But that figure still lagged sales growth, with the company’s sales rising 4% to £206.5 million.

Even though underlying operating profit was up, the company’s reported operating profit figure actually fell as much as 32% to £11.8 million as the company ploughed investment into its physical stores, especially its debut locations in the US and Ireland. 

Its investment went to website enhancements and other key projects as well as stores, but its spending in the physical realm was particularly important. It opened on New York’s 5th Avenue and at the Shorthills Mall in New Jersey as well as opening in Kildare, Ireland. It also plans to open another Irish store in the key Dublin market and will launch an e-tail partnership with Nordstrom in the US next spring.

The company had 47 stores in Britain as well as seven concessions and only three abroad at its year-end. And it has continued to expand its physical footprint, despite the tough retail environment.

At the end of last month it announced that its latest opening will be in Beverley in Yorkshire in a former Wilko store that has been empty for as long as three years. It’s a large space and underlines the ongoing confidence at the company in physical stores, even though the bricks and mortar sector is facing unprecedented challenges in the UK.

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