JEM Retail Consultants providing services in buying and merchandising, Programme Management, IT services and Logistics & Warehousing.

Friday, 4 October 2013

The "Spinning" Of Results

Jaeger has more than halved its group loss after tax from £35.5m to £13.1m in its full year results to February 23rd.

The fashion retailer Jaeger revealed that losses shrank by 63% in the year to February 23rd. However sales fell 17% to £70.7m while gross profit also dropped 17% to £40.9m from £49.3m the year before.

It interests me that certain parts of the media seem to just regurgitate retailer's results. There is no journalistic content or analysis and the real story is not revealed to the reader in these publications.

Take the above headline regarding Jaeger: "Yes" the facts are there but this does not reflect the true state of Jaeger, which is that Better Capital have got to grip with costs. The fact that SALES FELL under their year in charge is shocking, but very typical of Private Equity ownership of fashion businesses.

As with every blog I write about retailing I highlight the need for product that the customer desires and actually wants to buy. Cost cutting, of course, strengthens the cash position of a business and enables the management team to feel secure. This is a false sense of security if the product is not desirable or relevant.

Congratulations to the team at Jaeger for getting the business on a sounder financial footing. However.... I tried yet again to find something, anything, to buy from Jaeger, even after the coat I bought in the summer started to fall apart after just one wear! The coat only had one button and that had gone by the time I got home after wearing it for the first time. But "No!". Nothing to tempt me.

Jaeger's heritage (as outlined on their website) is the key to its future. Beautiful fabrics made with quality should be the top priority for its garments. Jaeger used to revolutionise. Now what a sorry state its product ranges are in.

No amount of cost control will actually build this business up again and even loyal customers like me have reached the conclusion that "we must move on".

My message to the new CEO: PLEASE focus on product and look back to what you used to do so well. That gap in the market is still there but I'd guess for not much longer.

As for the media: more analysis and less taking well-spun results at face value.

Written by Erica Vilkauls: Director at JEM Retail Consultants

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