All Saints eyes up the Chinese market as it unveils sales jump

 
Helen Cahill
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The brand's HQ is on Commercial Street in east London (Source: All Saints)

Shoreditch-based retailer All Saints is eyeing up a move into China as it aims to source a third of its sales from fast-growing Asian economies.

The brand, which is exporting UK street style across the globe, now makes 47 per cent of its sales abroad, and it is investing more in its global expansion.

For the year ended 28 January, All Saints' total sales came in at £303m, a growth of 20 per cent year-on-year.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) fell nine per cent, down from £28.5m to £26m.

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Over the period, All Saints opened 74 stores. The firm said its sales growth was driven by its expansion into international markets, and its drop in Ebitda was partly due to its investment into entering the Japanese market.

Speaking to City A.M., William Kim, All Saints' chief executive, said the brand was entering markets directly, rather than using the franchise model, so that the firm could have more control of the business. He said the firm's investment strategy, which was once focused on North America, is now being directed to Asia.

Aside from Japan, All Saints opened stores in travel locations in South Korea last year. For Kim, airports are a key location, not just for high footfall, but also as a way to advertise the business to tourists across Asia, particularly Chinese tourists. The retail boss said the business does have plans for the Chinese market, which it will reveal in the new year.

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The business is also ploughing money into its technology, creating all its tech in-house rather than relying on third-party providers. Kim said that All Saints was "raising the Union Jack proudly", not just as a retail chain, but as a firm looking to create an innovative and lasting business model.

Many retailers buy their technology systems from third-party providers, he said. All Saints instead looks to FinTech for inspiration on setting up and running technology systems for the business.

"We can create innovative business models, and we can be at the epicentre of digital innovation," Kim said.

All Saints' private-equity owner Lion Capital, which owned Jimmy Choo for three years, has helped the business take a long-term view, he added.

"To me, they are more a consumer firm, because they really understand brands," Kim said. "We’ve never taken a decision that is for a short-term financial gain. It’s not your typical [private equity] model."

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