Cloth­ing firm Quiz aim­ing to sew up on­line sales growth

● Ex­pects most of sales to be dig­i­tal within two years ● But net­work of stores still grow­ing in UK and abroad

The Scotsman - - Business - By EMMA NEW­LANDS

Glas­gow-based womenswear re­tailer Quiz ex­pects the ma­jor­ity of its sales to mi­grate on­line in the next cou­ple of years af­ter re­veal­ing that to­tal full-year rev­enues climbed by nearly a third.

The firm, which floated on the Al­ter­na­tive In­vest­ment Mar­ket in July, said in a trad­ing update that to­tal rev­enues for the 12 months to 31 March showed a 30 per cent year-onyear jump to £116.4 mil­lion, in line with its ex­pec­ta­tions.

Sheraz Ramzan, chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer, told The Scots­man: “We were very pleased with the per­for­mance. There’s a lot of mo­men­tum in the busi­ness and we’re pleased to have achieved the growth that we have in all the chan­nels that we’re op­er­at­ing in. We’re look­ing for­ward to con­tin­u­ing that mo­men­tum into this new fi­nan­cial year.”

On­line sales jumped by just un­der 160 per cent to £30.6m, and Ramzan said that while the busi­ness is not ex­pect­ing this pace to con­tinue, it does fore­cast “very strong” on­line growth to con­tinue over­all.

“That will change the shape of the busi­ness,” he added, not­ing that on­line cur­rently rep­re­sents about a quar­ter of com­pany turnover. “We see that pro­por­tion in­creas­ing, so on­line, over the next cou­ple of years, will prob­a­bly rep­re­sent the ma­jor­ity of the busi­ness turnover.”

How­ever, he praised the per­for­mance of the firm’s UK stores and con­ces­sions, where sales jumped by 12 per cent to £64.6m. Quiz bucked the trend in a highly trou­bled UK bricks-and-mor­tar re­tail sec­tor, which Ramzan at­trib­uted to it op­er­at­ing in the fast fash­ion value sec­tor, and its om­nichan­nel busi­ness model.

A recent re­port from PWC found that on av­er­age more than five stores a week closed on the Scot­tish high street last year, with clothes shops ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the largest drop, at 25.5 per cent.

Quiz in its full fi­nan­cial year opened about five net out­lets in the UK, and re­cently opened its lat­est flag­ship site in Blue­wa­ter. Ramzan, whose fa­ther Tarak is founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive of the group, high­lighted plans to open about half a dozen stores this fi­nan­cial year. How­ever, he said most of Quiz’s growth will come from on­line and in­ter­na­tional, with the lat­ter see­ing a 4 per cent rise to £21.2m, and the firm is to launch its own web­site in the US this month, hav­ing al­ready more broadly opened its brand up to more con­sumers over the year.

Peel Hunt an­a­lysts Jonathan Pritchard and John Steven­son said the trad­ing update “showed that the brand re­mains in rude health”. Bri­tish Air­ways owner In­ter­na­tional Airlines Group (IAG) has con­firmed that it is ex­plor­ing a po­ten­tial ac­qui­si­tion of low-cost car­rier Nor­we­gian Air Shut­tle. IAG said in a stock mar­ket an­nounce­ment that it has ac­quired a 4.61 per cent stake in the air­line, which is “in­tended to es­tab­lish a po­si­tion from which to ini­ti­ate dis­cus­sions with Nor­we­gian”, in­clud­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of a full offer for the firm. Nor­we­gian Air has ex­panded rapidly over the last 12 months.

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