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Aquascutum vows sales turnaround

Aquascutum is expecting to post a “considerable improvement” on sales figures for the current financial year, after revealed last week that it had made a £2.52m loss in its first year trading as a new business.

The luxury company recorded sales of £8.76m in the period from April 11, 2012 – when it was incorporated by its new owner, Hong Kong-based YGM Trading – to March 31, 2013. Operating profit was £4.65m, but after the cost of ordinary activities Aquascutum was left with the loss.

Chief operating officer Mark Taylor said results for the current financial year to the end of March 2014 would benefit from a number of improvements made during the first year of a three-year strategy, implemented last March.

He noted that footfall to Aquascutum’s store on Great Marlborough Street in London, which opened last November, was “very high”, with like-for-likes in existing stores at Westfield London, Windsor and Canary Wharf up 5%.

A second store is expected to open this summer. Taylor declined to say where, although he has previously said he was eyeing properties on London’s Brompton Road, Bond Street and Covent Garden, and that they would be potentially larger than the 4,456 sq ft Great Marlborough Street store, which is opposite Liberty.

Aquascutum is also looking to drive wholesale following its return to Florence show Pitti Uomo in January, after a four-year break, to exhibit its autumn 14 menswear range.

Taylor said forward orders for autumn 14 menswear and womenswear were “strong” and wholesale revenue will have increased 100% for autumn 14, “having secured some new high-profile accounts across the UK and Europe”.

For the year to March 2013, the vast majority of revenues – £7.75m – came from retail sales, with just over £1m from wholesale. In total slightly more than £8m was generated in the UK, with £715,000 coming from the Far East.

The website has also contributed to the top line, with total visits up 39%, while conversion rates have doubled.

The site is also offering deliveries within the EU from the start of this month.

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