Department store group Fenwick had embarked on a business transformation programme designed to create a unified and multichannel business. The retailer eventually launched a transactional website in 2019 as part of its £25m IT infrastructure investment.

Fenwick’s USP is its strategy to tailor its in-store offer to local catchments, which it is supplementing through modernising internal processes and investing in systems to improve the exchange and analysis of data.

The retailer opened its first store in over a decade during 2017 as part of regeneration works in Bracknell. The retailer anchors the Lexicon shopping and leisure destination and has put together a format with a big focus on in-store theatre and experiences. 

But all of this increased investment has exerted serious pressure on the bottom line.  

In a tough trading environment for department stores, Fenwick’s sales have been sliding for several years. Impacted by the pandemic, with its stores forced to remain closed for 21 weeks during the year to end-January 2021 (FY2020), net sales more than halved to £99.2m, while pre-tax losses more than doubled to £111.7m. 

Former Selfridges and Harrods finance boss John Edgar took over as CEO in April 2020 after former boss Robbie Feather and chairman Richard Pennycook left the business. 

Innovation rating: 1.5

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