Jigsaw is an upmarket fashion retailer, focusing on women’s clothing and accessories, but has been finding the going tough of late, and has suffered a slew of senior management departures.
The exodus of six directors in May 2020 on the back of interim CEO Toby Foreman’s departure earlier in the year left the fashion retailer apparently rudderless in the midst of the coronavirus crisis and a couple of months later Jigsaw joined the growing list of retailers to call in advisers in the wake of the pandemic.
Former Karen Millen boss Beth Butterwick joined the retailer in early 2020 to work on remodelling the business with a heavy focus on digital and was confirmed as CEO in May 2021.
Her mission to turn Jigsaw into a digital-first brand has been accelerated as a result of a CVA in the second half of 2020 through which around 20 stores were shuttered. Meanwhile, a further 17 stores did not reopen for trading following the national lockdown at the beginning of 2021. This has seen the Jigsaw network reduced to just 50 or so stores.
Butterwick has also overseen a complete refocus of the business on its premium womenswear heritage in the UK, closing down its Australian and US operations and discontinuing menswear after its kidswear offer was previously pulled.
The fashion retailer has been focusing on making the customer journey as seamless as possible over the past few years. This included the introduction of OneStock, giving Jigsaw a single view of stock across the business and enabling product to be supplied to customers direct from stores.
A new customer data platform was developed in 2020, giving the retailer a single view of the customer. It is increasing the size of its analytics and insight team in 2021 to support the growth of the online business by putting customer insight at the heart of strategic decisions.
As part of its digital-first approach from 2021, the retailer is aiming to grow the online business to approximately 50% of its normalised total sales base and is planning to turn to partnerships with online marketplaces to help it achieve this.
Jigsaw was reported to have received an indicative £27m takeover offer from investor Henrik Madsen, CEO of retail and brand consultancy HMJ International, in the second half of 2021, although this has not been confirmed.