Hobbs’ losses widen after costly revamp

Kasmira Jefford
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Hobbs’ customers include The Duchess of Cambridge
Womenswear retailer Hobbs saw losses widen to £15.6m last year, despite a slight pick-up in sale as its new management team struggled to turn the chain around.

The brand, whose fans include the Duchess of Cambridge, suffered a £15.6m pre-tax loss in the year to 31 January, up from £14m last time.

Turnover rose from £115.4m to £116.5m, accounts at Companies House show, thanks to an improved performance in the fourth quarter of the year when its spring collection started to arrive.

Former New Look boss Phil Wrigley joined as chairman in January last year, and in June he named Meg Lustman as the new chief executive, replacing Nicky Dulieu who left earlier that year.

The company, owned by private equity firm 3i, said sales had improved since it embarked on a turnaround in the second half. During the year, it completed a refinancing with its banks and has shut nine shops and concessions.

But the overhaul has proved expensive, with the firm, which said sales of its Breton tops and floral skirts rose slightly in the year to January, spending £534,000 on redundancies in its head office, as well as £289,000 in legal fees.

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