White Stuff has posted a drop in earnings following “a year of investment” into its store expansion plan.

The fashion retailer suffered a 29.4% slump in EBITDA to £14.4m during the year to April 29, despite growing total sales 6.2%.

Retail sales climbed 4.9% to £102.2m, while online sales jumped 9.9% to £42.3m.

Wholesale revenues also increased 4.6% to £9.1m, helping total sales hit £153.6m.

But White Stuff’s bottom line was hit after it ploughed investment into opening 32 new shops and concessions, 18 of which were in the UK.

The business continued its overseas push by launching nine new sites in Germany, three in Belgium and two in Italy.

White Stuff’s international retail sales surged 89% during the year as it continues to grow its presence outside the UK.

Consumer uncertainty

Despite hailing sales progress, White Stuff warned it had faced “a challenging trading environment” since the start of its current financial year.

The business said: “The perceived uncertainty created in our consumer’s mind by Brexit and the factual reality of external headwinds created by the living wage, pension costs and exchange rates, have required us to realign the business to its future needs.

“This has unfortunately resulted in a number of redundancies at our head office. Our priority remains to put the customer first.”

White Stuff said it would continue to invest in the business despite the turbulent trading environment.

It is pressing ahead with plans to create “a broader, more contemporary look” to its product mix and launch a new web platform.

White Stuff added in its statement: “The trend in changing shopping habits continues at a pace. Alongside the Brexit uncertainty and resultant currency challenges that impact sourcing, the business is embracing the need for bolder innovation in product and a meaningful experience for our customer.

“This will inevitably require a significant phase of investment as well as a ‘test and learn’ mentality across all our channels, both in the UK and overseas to ensure we take our customer on the journey.

“We are confident that this approach will provide a strong foundation from which to develop our business.”

It emerged in July that White Stuff chief executive Jeremy Seigal is retiring from the business at the end of 2017.

White Stuff is expected to name his successor before the end of the year.