Fat Face boss Will Crumbie has said product is “at the heart” of its success as the fashion retailer reported a surge in sales and profits for the full year.

Fat Face dress

Fat Face’s store sales increased in the UK and the US

Fat Face posted a 15% increase in total sales for the 52 weeks to May 27, 2023, to reach a total of £282m, up from £245m the previous year.

The fashion retailer posted underlying EBITDA of £26m, up 3% year on year, while profit after tax was also up from £5.8m to £17.3m.

Sales across Fat Face’s digital channels climbed 18%, which the retailer attributed to increases in visits and average order values. 

Fat Face recorded a 15% increase in like-for-like sales across its UK stores and said sales in the region were back to pre-pandemic levels.

Across its stores in North America, sales surged 20%, which it credited to a focus on customer acquisition in the US, strong own-channel growth online and a successful launch in Canada.

In terms of outlook, Fat Face said it remains “well placed” to deliver against its objectives set out for the 2024 financial year, including its partnership with N Brown and its Canadian expansion strategy.

Fat Face chief executive Will Crumbie told Retail Week that achieving growth across all channels and territories demonstrates the strength of the Fat Face business and the challenge lies in maintaining momentum.

“It’s not an easy time at the moment and we can definitely see that. As a business, we always come back to the core principles of wanting to put newness and something interesting in front of our customer. If we can do that, there is every chance they will love it and want to buy it,” he said.

“That newness and innovation are really helping us to mitigate some of those negative pressures that are there in the market at the moment. 

“There is definitely a search for value but it is also about that little treat. It could be the dress or a pair of socks but we have to just keep putting ourselves in that position that we can give the customer that choice and that little treat.”

Crumbie said both womenswear and menswear are resonating with customers and the brand is “catering well” for its customer and DNA.

He points out that the women’s trouser product category is performing well across the UK and Canada, with cord and cargo trousers being its best-selling items currently. In the US, Crumbie said its Airlie sweatshirt remains a bestseller.

Crumbie said autumn/winter had a “difficult start” and he anticipates there will be “choppy waters” during the festive period.

He said: “Trying to sell heavy knitwear and outerwear when the temperature is going to be 25 degrees is never an easy task. 

“As I keep saying to the team, Christmas will always be on December 25 and people always want to give each other gifts. We just have to keep doing the best we can to put the right product in front of them.

“As always, every Christmas there are choppy waters and we will have to see how the ups and downs go, particularly with how Black Friday goes this year. It will be interesting to see if that is even more of a peak or whether it starts to diminish.”