The unpopular changes Hobbs made to last autumn’s collection led to losses spiralling in its full year, but it feels confident its product “refocus” will improve performance.
Pre-tax losses ballooned from £2.3m to £14m in its year to January 25 and sales plunged 7.8% to £115.4m. Pre-exceptional EBITDA fell 36.6% to £9m.
Hobbs chairman Phil Wrigley said: “Last year’s results reflect the challenging trading we experienced over the festive period and the action taken to exit unsuccessful autumn/winter stock.”
Earlier this year private equity firm 3i wrote down the value of its investment in Hobbs by 40%.
The retailer is in the process of restructuring following a business review designed to put it back on track, Retail-week.com revealed earlier this month. The review took in all aspects of the business including brand, ranges and operations.
Hobbs said it was confident that performance would improve this year.
Although its spring 2014 range was designed in the same aesthetic as the troubled autumn 2013 range, early indications are that it was “better received”.
It has made further changes to its autumn 2014 collection to “reflect the needs of its customers” and it expects it to deliver sales growth.
Wrigley, who replaced Iain MacRitchie as chairman in January, said he was confident that the retailer’s newly appointed chief executive, former Warehouse boss Meg Lustman, would help “steer Hobbs through it next phase of growth and international development.”
Hobbs intends to expand its business in the US after the success of concessions it launched this year in Bloomingdale’s stores.
Lustman replaced Nicky Dulieu, who stood down in April after five years in the role.