Quiz today said its sales fell by two-thirds during a year in which pandemic restrictions hit demand for the occasion wear and dressy casual clothing that it sells. Now trading from fewer stores, it believes that demand for its ranges will increase as social events and celebrations restart. It is looking for new opportunities to increase its sales both online and in-store, especially in the wake of the failure of key trading partners including Debenhams.
The multichannel retailer said in a trading update today that it turned over £39.7m in the year to March 31. That’s down by 66% on the previous year, when it had turned over £188m. Online sales fell by 42% to £21.6m in its 2021 full year, while sales in its UK stores and concessions fell by 82% to £10.5m. International sales were 65% down at £7.6m.
In June – just before the end of the first lockdown – the retailer put its Kast Retail division, which operated its 82 standalone UK stores, into administration. Now it sells from 64 UK shops, of which 36 have now reopened from lockdown in England and Wales, and from 87 concessions. However, 72 of those concessions are in branches of Debenhams that, it says, are scheduled to close by the end of May. It is no longer selling through the Debenhams website. In its latest full-year, sales via Debenhams came to £3.4m in-store and £5.5m online – down from £16.5m and £7.7m respectively in the previous year. The retailer also sold via Arcadia Group brands that have also closed. Now it is looking for new opportunities to grow its online and in-store sales, both through its own estate and with new partners.
Quiz chief executive Tarak Ramzan says: “With prolonged periods of store closures, the past 12 months has been a very challenging period for many in the UK retail sector, and Quiz has not been immune to this. However, against this difficult trading backdrop, the group has taken proactive actions to preserve cash and realign our store estate for the future retail landscape.
“In addition, we remain confident that there is robust underlying demand from our customers for the Quiz brand and our trademark dressy and occasionwear. We are looking forward to being able to serve customers again through our store estate and to the gradual opening up of the retail and leisure economies over the coming months, which we believe we are well placed to benefit from.”