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Footasylum: ‘ready for a digital age’

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Footasylum executive chairman Barry Bown today said the retailer stood ready for a digital age as it reported sales up a third in its latest financial year.

“We have much work ahead of us as we expand our thinking as well as our retail footprint but we stand ready as a business that is fit for a digital age,” he said. “Our online sales are growing and we are investing in the technology we nee to continue improving customer engagement.”

The retailer, a Top100 trader in IRUK Top500 research, today reported revenue of £194.8m in the year to February 24, 33% up on the same time last year. Online sales grew by 41% and accounted for 30% of total revenue. That’s up from 29% the previous year. Pre-tax profits of £1.9m were down from £8.1m a year earlier after exceptional items of £6m. Underlying pre-tax profits, before those exceptional items, 

Footasylum chief executive Clare Nesbitt said growth had come across all of its channels and product categories and that it was continuing to invest for long-term expansion. 

“While our core target market of the 16 to 24-year-old consumer has proved to be comparatively resilient in a downturn, our trading since the beginning of new financial year has undoubtedly been impacted by the widely documented weak consumer sentiment on the high street,” said Nesbitt. “Despite this we are confident that continued investment in digital and in our stores will allow the company to deliver strong revenue growth for the full year in line with market expectations. This includes increased investment in our consumer offering ahead of our usual peak trading period in the second half and delivering additional store upsizes alongside new store openings.” 

Footasylum, founded in 2005, is a Top100 retailer in IRUK Top500 research and it sells online, via 65 stores on UK high streets and in retail parks, as well as via wholesale. Here’s what it said about its multichannel strategy in its first full-year results since it listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market in November. 

Online and crosschannel

Footasylum says it expects to see 50% of total revenue come from online and wholesale in the medium-term. At the same time it plans to increase the size of its stores in key locations, while adding around eight stores a year as it works towards a total estate of 150 stores in the UK. Stores are tailored for the local market, while digital capabilities are being improved in order to boost online sales and engage via social content. “We understand our target audience, and through our stores and digital content our target audience understands us – as specialists across the full spectrum of urban fashion,” it said in today’s statement. 

It also plans to invest in developing its online and digital marketing. A new 10,000 sq ft studio in Manchester will house its in-house design, photography and videography capabilities to support its activities in store and digitally. 

Operations and logistics

The retailer doubled its warehouse space during the year in order to support both online and instore sales. Round-the-clock opening means store stock sold by 9pm is replenished the next day, while online orders placed by midnight can be fulfilled the next day.

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