Hobbs bucks high street trend as it eyes Chinese consumers

Michael Bow
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HOBBS, the upmarket fashion retailer founded in Hampstead over 30 years ago, yesterday mapped out global plans to push the brand into new markets after seeing a big increase in sales last year.

The chain, owned by listed UK private equity outfit 3i, notched up an 11.1 per cent increase in sales to £125.1m. This pushed operating profits up to £15.2m for the year ending 26 January, amid a time of turmoil on the high street.

Chairman Iain MacRitchie told City A.M.: “It’s been tough on the UK high street but we’ve been able to reconnect with customers. We put a lot into product and brand development.”

The company said it spent £3.1m on brand development last year alone and now plans to roll out into China and Hong Kong.

The company, established in 1981 as a shoe brand in North London, is also banking on a new line of clothes and accessories this winter to help drive growth. A major refit of a third of its stores is also planned. MacRitchie added that the company’s wider future plans with backers 3i were on track.

“We’re half way there,” he said. “We wanted to get the brand developed, which we’ve done, and now the next phase is international.”

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