Wednesday 4 December 2019 3:04 pm

Edinburgh Woollen Mill posts strong profits ahead of potential Bonmarche deal

Philip Day’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group reported strong profits in its latest financial update as the billionaire businessman eyes potential acquisitions for his high street empire. 

The group, which includes brands such as Peacocks, Jaeger and Austin Reed, reported profit after tax of £23.4m in the 27 weeks to 2 March, on revenue of £327.14m.

Read more: Peacocks set to buy Bonmarche out of administration

The company also revealed it has a cash balance of £117.8m, is bank debt free and has undrawn bank facilities of £100m. 

Edinburgh Woollen Mill posted a profit after tax of £12m and Peacocks, which has recently been named the preferred bidder for Bonmarche, reported profit after tax of £17m. 

Day was previously the majority shareholder in Bonmarche through separate holding company Spectre and lost more than £5.5m when it collapsed.

Upmarket brand Jaeger, which lost £7.1m in the year before it collapsed into administration, reduced losses to £1.1m and seven new stores were opened.  A further four standalone stores and four concessions outlets have opened since the end of the reporting period. 

In March, the Austin Reed, Berwin & Berwin and Jacque Vert businesses were consolidated into Jaeger to create a “single luxury tailoring division”.

It is not possible to compare the group’s latest 27-week reporting period with its previous financial filing as that covered 78 weeks. 

An Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group spokesperson said: “As we continue to expand our store estate, our multi-fascia strategy has allowed us to appeal to a wide demographic of customers across a range of different prices points; whether that is good-quality yet affordable clothing from Peacocks or high-quality signature pieces from Jaeger.

Read more: Philip Day tables bid to avoid Jack Wills administration

“One of our biggest successes this year has been the continued roll-out of Jaeger…The turnaround in Jaeger’s fortunes validates our heavy investment in the brand and our commitment to hiring top industry talent.

“It also validates our approach of replacing the company’s previous reliance on an unsustainable low-margin, discount-led marketing strategy with our plan to re-establish Jaeger as a badge of quality, which has been done effectively. “