Vivienne Westwood UK sales rise but wholesale dip keeps profits flat

today Nov 23, 2018
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Vivienne Westwood is the latest UK-based label to report its results and, as with its luxury peers, it has painted a mixed picture showing both progress and challenges.

Vivienne Westwood

The results report for the UK arm of the business, filed this week at Companies House and covering the 12 months to December 31, showed the company is profitable and “sales continue to be consistent”.

The firm is focused on growth and is aiming to “establish a better presence in relatively new markets such as China and [the] USA, as well as increasing market share in Europe and Asia” beyond China. That’s no surprise but will be a challenge as it’s one of the few remaining globally-known-but-independent luxury brands and is increasingly having to compete against labels with the weight of global conglomerates behind them.

The accounts showed a turnover rise to £40.8 million in 2017 from £37.5 million a year earlier. But while retail sales rose 3.16%, wholesale fell by over 6% and pre-tax profit was broadly flat at £1.9 million. 

Margins are still under pressure due to the “nature of wider retail conditions,” however, the gross profit margin rose to 53.3% from 46% and the company said that it has been “reviewing pricing to improve gross profit margins."

The company said last year was “challenging” but added that the brand continues to be attractive to a wide customer base.

The Vivienne Westwood brand in general should get a major publicity boost next month when Burberry launches the latest of its monthly drop collections, which is a Westwood collab.

But headline-grabbing as that is, it will be most interesting to see just what comes out of its overall expansion plans. Watch this space.

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