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Vivienne Westwood to overhaul retail as profits fall

British designer brand Vivienne Westwood will focus on boosting its retail performance this year, after the company’s pre-tax profits fell by 36% in 2013.

Profits dipped to £3.2m in the year to December 31 from £5m the year before, while turnover was down 2% from £30.1m to £29.5m. Its gross profit margin fell from 53.3% to 46.1%.

A statement on Vivienne Westwood’s Companies House account said: “2013 has been a challenging year for the company. Over the last year, margins have been under pressure due to the nature of wider retail conditions.

“While the company has seen a small increase in wholesale sales, retail sales have been disappointing with a drop of 2.6% and the focus is now on the retail performance of the business.”

Vivienne Westwood, which produces four clothing sub-brands - Gold, Red, Man and Anglomania - and a range of leather goods, jewellery, accessories, fragrance and homeware, said it plans to improve retail by investing in staff training, introducing a new store concept design and reviewing its brand positioning.

It will look at establishing a “better presence” in China and the US, as well as increasing its market penetration in existing territories such as France, Italy and Japan. It also plans to open new stores in the UK, where it currently has 10 shops, and will launch a new transactional website to boost online sales.

Readers' comments (4)

  • Maybe forcing their stockists to buy unrealistic quantities of the collections thus forcing them to heavily discount it very early in the season has not helped the situation . Allowing stockists to buy what they need for their store would lessen the discounting and make the product more exclusive desirable for the customer.

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  • Maybe forcing their stockists to buy unrealistic quantities of the collections thus forcing them to heavily discount it very early in the season has not helped the situation . Allowing stockists to buy what they need for their store would lessen the discounting and make the product more exclusive desirable for the customer.

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  • I am a retailer and pride myself on excellent customer service.
    The Westwood store in Conduit Street need to train there staff on customer service as I have been in there and was shocked at the rudeness of some of the staff.
    I also agree with the above comment not to pressure boutiques with unrealistic quantities. Wh know what we can sell and how much we need to buy. Also some of the on line sites went on sale in May and killed it for the bricks and mortar stores but nothing is ever done to stop that occurring. If retailers went on sale as early as that we would be criticized by every retailer in the country.

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  • Minimums are an illegal practise that is often used by Brands on a wholly subjective basis to get out of accounts that don't toe the line and make waves.

    Retailers often aren't in a position to throw money they haven't got to take the brand to court and the brand knows that, so we have what we have.

    Westwood is just one of an increasing bunch of brand that are arrogant, deluded and clueless.

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