In the past year, END. Clothing’s parent company, Ashworth and Parker, demonstrated remarkable resilience while facing significant hurdles, including a substantial multimillion-pound stock write-off.
Reviewing the key financial figures, END. Clothing achieved a turnover of £221.1 million, a modest increase from £219 million. Although the gross profit decreased to £67.67 million from £81.38 million, and the operating profit dwindled to £8.8 million from £38 million, the company still managed to report a profit before tax of £9 million, albeit lower than the previous year’s £38 million. The net profit for the year settled at £7.1 million, down from £33.4 million in the prior 12 months.
Throughout the year, END. Clothing strategically invested in its operations, platforms, and sales channels to support its ambitious global growth plans. The company expanded its footprint by opening new stores in Manchester and Newcastle during the autumn, with the latter being the brand’s inaugural women’s fashion-only store, a move that bolstered END. Clothing’s presence in the thriving women’s fashion segment, both online and in brick-and-mortar establishments.
However, the journey was not without challenges. These difficulties stemmed from the implementation of a new automated fulfillment system, leading to logistical hiccups that adversely impacted customer experiences and operational efficiency.
The new stock system, introduced mid-year to enhance inventory management and system integration, encountered unforeseen challenges. The management took strategic measures to mitigate customer disruptions, including reducing marketing and promotional activities and bolstering the fulfillment staff. Nonetheless, these efforts could not fully offset the disruptions of several months and the incurred costs associated with the stock write-off.
Furthermore, the company felt the effects of franchise withdrawals from key brands. While compensation was obtained for residual stock from these franchises, END. Clothing remains committed to introducing exciting new brands and products throughout 2023 to compensate for any losses.
Despite these challenges, the retailer staged a remarkable recovery in Q4, ultimately achieving an increase in year-end turnover. However, the incurred problems and the necessity for additional discounts to normalize the stock level did affect profit margins.
Looking ahead, END. Clothing remains highly optimistic, highlighting its substantial investment in a dynamic team. During this period, Parker Gundersen and Karen Dracou joined as CEO and CFO, respectively, bringing their wealth of industry experience to the table. Gundersen’s background includes serving as the president of retail operations at LVMH’s DFS subsidiary and as CEO of Zalora, while Dracou boasts extensive experience with prominent UK retailers, including M&S and John Lewis.
The company also underscores its growing global customer base, with approximately 7.5 million email subscribers and 3.6 million social media followers. Towards the end of the period, END. Clothing expanded its international footprint with the opening of its Italian subsidiary’s first store in Milan in February—a significant milestone as the brand’s first store outside the UK.
END. Clothing firmly believes that its successful entry into the Milan market has laid the foundation for robust international growth. Since the store’s launch, the company has experienced sustained increased traffic in the region.