Upmarket fashion retailer Hobbs is to try out a new fascia for a range targeting mothers and daughters in the autumn.
The contemporary womenswear range, called NW3, is designed to attract a broader shopper base and lapsed Hobbs customers. It has been spearheaded by former Jaeger creative director Sandy Verdon, who joined the business last year.
This week Hobbs, which is backed by private equity firm 3i, revealed record sales, up 3.6 per cent to £101.6m for the year to January 31.
Hobbs chief executive Nicky Dulieu said that surpassing £100m sales was a “landmark” moment for the retailer, which five years ago generated sales of only £30m.
Dulieu added that NW3 refers to the London postcode in which Hobbs opened its first store in 1981, as well as the fact that it is the third fashion collection for the retailer.
The range will launch with around 90 SKUs – about a third of the size of its mainstream range – in around 22 stores, as well as online. It will sit alongside its mainstream and Limited Edition ranges.
The retailer, which has 125 stores and concessions, will convert two of its branches in the Hamp-
stead postcode to the NW3 name.
Dulieu said the NW3 fascia could “potentially” roll out if successful. “We have got to see how it will work,” she said.
EBITDA at Hobbs dropped to £18.8m during the year, from £21.3m the year before. EBITDA margin fell from 21.8 per cent to 18.6 per cent because of heavier discounting. It ended the year with autumn/winter terminal stock down 15 per cent.
Dulieu said the retailer was fortunate to have a strong balance sheet. “We are strongly cash generative,” she said, adding that the retailer is well placed to trade through the challenging environment.
Dulieu was this week promoted to chief executive. Former boss Nick Samuel has stood down as non-executive director. Tony Campbell returns to non-executive chairman and retail director Mike Spearing has been appointed to business development director.