Fenwick’s annual loss deepens to £49m amid sales drop

Published on: 19th August 2020

Recent results cover the year ending 31st January, before Fenwick’s had to temporarily close during lockdown.

Fenwick's annual loss

Fenwick’s annual loss has widened after a drop in sales during a full-year period which doesn’t include the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to its results for the year ending 31st January 2020, the department store chain’s overall loss came in at £49m. The company recorded a loss of £46m in 2019.

Fenwick said net sales dropped 9% to £271.5m in the same full year period, which it said reflected a “difficult trading environment”. However, the family-owned retailer narrowed its operating losses to almost £11.8m – a significant improvement on the operating loss of £17.3m recorded in 2019.

Fenwick operates from nine stores across England, all of which reopened on 15th June when non-essential retail lockdown restrictions were eased. It had been forced into lockdown in late March when the pandemic escalated in the UK.

In April, at the height of the pandemic, Richard Pennycook, Robbie Feather and Andy Doyle resigned from their respective roles as chairman, chief executive and non-executive director. Non-executive director Steve Barber was promoted to chairman and John Edgar became chief executive.

Fenwick has said it anticipates that business will experience a “sizeable loss” in the coming year and that a two year secured borrowing facility has been put in place as part of the group’s contingency plan, to ensure sufficient funding.

“These results reflect the difficult trading environment which retailers faced even before the pandemic,” commented a spokeswoman for Fenwick. “While sales declined, there were a number of positive areas including in beauty and food, and we continued to roll out our online offer, which has since grown significantly. Covid-19 has brought huge challenges for Fenwick and the sector. We are performing better than we hoped, online and in-store, and continue to have strong financial foundations. We look forward to continuing to serve our local communities with a premium, personalised and safe shopping experience.”


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