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Hobbs sales fall but margins improve

Turnover at Hobbs fell 5.7% to £109.9m in the year to January 30, but its EBITDA rose 18% to £7.7m and margins improved as it sold more product at full price.

Hobbs AW16

Hobbs AW16

Hobbs’ autumn 16 collection

Its margin rose from 60.5% to 63.8%. The company, which made a pre-tax loss of £15.6m last year, did not disclose equivalent figures for this year.

The margin gains were partially offset by investment in growing the business internationally.

During the year, Hobbs opened four new concessions in US department store chain Bloomingdale’s and debuted in Germany through Wohrl, SinnLeffers and Zalando. It now has 14 Bloomingdale’s concessions in total and trades on bloomingdales.com.

In the UK, it opened stores in Birmingham and Manchester, and relocated its store in Milton Keynes.

Chief executive Meg Lustman was drafted in as chief executive of Hobbs in September 2014, following a strategic review of the womenswear chain by chairman Phil Wrigley. Lustman previously worked at John Lewis, Warehouse and Aurora Fashions.

Since joining Hobbs she has rationalised the store and concessions portfolio and streamlined the head office.

Lustman said: “Our strong performance this year against an uncertain economic backdrop is an indication of the success of our investments and our growing international footprint. We are confident of seeing further positive results as our growth plan progresses.”

Hobbs, which was established in London in 1981, is now owned by private equity firm 3i. It has 140 stores and concessions in the UK and Ireland.

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