Quiz, the fast fashion retailer, has reported a plunge in sales and profits as it navigates the crisis facing the UK high street.
The multi-channel retailer, which has 73 stores and 174 concessions in the country and specialises in occasion wear, said revenues for the half year to September fell 5% to £63.3m.
It was driven, the company said, by an 11% drop in sales at its physical sites.
Online revenue was flat.
It credited international business and a clothing collection by The Only Way Is Essex TV star Samantha Faiers for helping prop up sales.
Trading profits were down 54% at £2.7m while the chain swung to an overall loss before tax of £6.8m from profits of £3.8m in the same period a year ago.
Quiz said it had recognised a non-cash charge of £7m reflecting impairment of store assets and onerous lease provisions.
It has been a tough year for many fashion retailers with exposure to the high street – with several big names including Sir Philip Green’s Topshop empire among those seeking rescue deals with landlords.
Value brands have had an easier time of it as shoppers have curbed their spending amid political and economic uncertainty though there are signs of a pick-up in activity ahead of Christmas.
The slump in consumer confidence has, at the same time, combined with rising costs to inflict further pain on retail.
Higher bills have included minimum wage costs, rents and business rates.
Tarak Ramzan, the founder and chief executive of Quiz, said: “The group’s performance has resulted in an underlying profit before tax of £0.6m.
“Whilst it is disappointing to report a decline of profits year-on-year, management are focused on implementing the actions identified further to the group’s business review conducted earlier in 2019.
“We are pleased to report progress improving gross margins and reducing costs across the business, and will look for further improvements to develop our omni-channel offering.”
Shares fell 16% in early trading.
Commenting on the performance, Greg Lawless of Shore Capital said: “Given the structural challenges across UK retailing, Quiz is in the eye of the storm with too many company-owned stores and concessions inside Debenhams and House of Fraser, which both have their own problems.
“The growing online and international channels will help offset the sales decline from UK retail.”
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