Phase Eight, which specialises in women’s occasionwear, has been owned by South African retail giant The Foschini Group (TFG) since 2015.

TFG, which also owns Hobbs and Whistles in the UK, has continued to support its multichannel growth and technological capabilities, with an increased focus on international development.

The retailer trades through just under 270 stores and concessions in the UK and Ireland, as well as some 160 stores across the globe.

Due to the seismic shift to online, the retailer has had its UK store network under review and domestic store numbers have been on a downward trend over the past few years. However, prior to the latest pandemic-impacted financial year, international expansion had been ongoing alongside an increased focus on ecommerce. Management revealed that online sales accounted for a very significant 39% of total sales in FY2018 and that online continued to account for an increased proportion of sales in FY2019 and again in FY2020.

In a challenging domestic marketplace adversely impacted by the pandemic, overall sales tumbled 53% to £63.29m in FY2020 with UK and international sales sharply falling. The retailer also swung to losses at pre-tax and operating levels. 

Innovation rating: 1.5

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