Jan 5, 2023
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Vivienne Westwood reports recovery from pandemic as sales and profits surge

Jan 5, 2023

Vivienne Westwood has filed its accounts for the year to 31 December 2021, and while the business is always interesting, the recent death of its founder, puts it even further into the spotlight.

Vivienne Westwood

So how did it fare in the year in question? The company said in the Companies House filing that the brand continued to remain attractive to its wide customer base and sales continued to be “consistent".

It felt the impact of the pandemic during the year with all of its stores across the UK facing lockdown periods at certain points during the 12 months. But it still managed to increase revenue to £66.2 million from £42.1 million in the previous year, with gross profit up 81% at £40.4 million. Pre-tax profit rose to £19.3 million from £3.9 million and net profit also surged, jumping from the previous year’s £2.8 million to £15.2 million this time. 

As physical stores reopened during the year, it said their sales rose 56%, while e-commerce sales for the business grew 62%. The company also saw a big jump in wholesale with a 62% rise compared to 2020. 

But it said that margins were still under pressure due to the nature of wider retail conditions, and it has been focusing on alleviating this pressure by reviewing its pricing to improve its gross profit margins. This policy will continue on an ongoing basis. 

The company also started the process to internalise its e-commerce business and this is expected to be complete by March of this year. That internalisation should further improve its margins. It's continuing to invest in its website, which is its fastest growing channel, to “better convey the brand message and improve the customer journey”.

It added that paramount to the company in future will be to improve the quality of its products, as well as working to minimise its environmental footprint in line with its founder’s motto: “Buy less, choose well, make it last.”

Westwood's ongoing fight against climate change will see it using its brand voice to raise awareness of the environmental impact of over-consumption. It said it continues to focus on sourcing materials and components that have a lower impact on the environment and over 90% of its non-blended virgin cotton jersey is now made from certified organic yarns. It's also part of the Canopy Style initiative and has committed to using only FSC certified viscose. 

Additionally, retail packaging is now 100% plastic-free and it's working to eliminate all single-use virgin plastic from transit packaging, as well as a number of other green initiatives.

The company didn’t issue any predictions nor discuss its future organisation. Its founder, Vivienne Westwood, died late last month, shortly after it emerged that her long-tine friend Jeff Banks had been brought in as a director of the business.

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