Sex toy and lingerie specialist Ann Summers is investing to boost its multichannel credentials and has posted a full-year profits dip.
The retailer is launching click-and-collect later this month and will soon begin piloting the use of in-store tablets as information and order points.
Ann Summers chief executive Jacqueline Gold told Retail Week: “The continued journey to being an integrated multichannel business providing our customers with a variety of ways to shop whether that be in-store, online, on mobile or at a party, is absolutely a priority as we continue to grow the business.”
The sex toy specialist’s pre-tax profits dropped to £2.4m in the 52 weeks to June 29, 2013, against £4m in the 53-week period in the prior year. Sales fell 2.5% to £115m as its party plan sales fell. Ann Summers estimated that the additional week in the previous year’s trading was worth £1m of profit for the retailer.
Ann Summers said it has embarked on a “long-overdue” overhaul of the party plan business. Gold said the changes, which include a systems update, would improve the ease with which its party planners could do business with Ann Summers.
Ann Summers retail sales rose on a like-for-like basis and its online sales grew “strongly” following the relaunch of its website last year. Gold said the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy was still helping boost footfall at the retailer.
Ann Summers is eyeing international growth in the year ahead as it launches with eBay across Europe, the US and Australia.
Ann Summers put its feminine underwear brand Knickerbox up for sale last month in order to focus on its core risqué offer. First-round offers were received last Friday and it is understood that KPMG, which is running the sale, has received bids from multiple fashion retailers and pure-plays.
It is thought that the brand will end up in the hands of a trade buyer.
- Selfridges is selling the world’s first 20-carat gold pleasure beads, made by designer Lelo, at a price of £2,090. The collection of premium sex toys includes a £10,000 vibrator.