Arcadia produced an operating profit of£275.3 million, down 6.1 per cent, on total sales down fractionally to£1.8 billion, reflecting a like-for-like decrease of 2.8 per cent.
While its young fashion brands Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge had record years, mainstream brands Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Wallis and Evans did less well, and Green said he would continue to look at all aspects of the business in order to help performance through the downturn.
“This market is about being world-class at back and front of house. Every business needs newness and fresh products, but we’ve also got to work closer, be cleverer, and the supply chain’s got to be razor-sharp,” he said.
Green said costs had risen only 2 per cent in the year despite 3 per cent space growth. He emphasised: “That’s not chopping up suppliers – it’s running the business efficiently.”
As forecast in Retail Week (April 11), Green said Topman had been the best performer. “There’s less choice in men’s so if you get it right you get it right,” he said. But he added that all the young businesses had done well due to “a combination of right product, good brands, leading from the front, running the business with conviction.”
But although younger shoppers had helped the performance, Green did not think they would prove immune to the credit crunch. “Most people are aware of what’s going on,” he said. “Footfall is clearly down so we’ve got to fight our corner.”
Green said he was confident about Topshop’s launch in New York, which is scheduled for March. “Assuming we do the right job, all will be fine. Where we go from there I don’t know, but I’m very relaxed about New York – the feedback’s been brilliant.”