Esprit sales plunge further

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Esprit sales slumped further in the first quarter as the embattled fashion brand’s store network continued to shrink.

In a stock exchange filing on Friday, Esprit said group revenue for the quarter to September 30 slumped 16.2 per cent year on year in local currency while its own offline store sales area reduced by 10.6 per cent, to HK$3.34 billion (US$425.8 million). The company’s own-managed stores, which account for 37 per cent of the company’s total turnover, fell by 17.8 per cent.

“The decline was due to a reduction in net sales area of 11.5 per cent year on year, a result of continued rationalisation of our distribution footprint, including the closure of the Australia and New Zealand markets and a decline in comparable retail store sales (excluding e-shop) of 14.1 per cent … mainly due to declining customer traffic to our stores and extended warm summer temperature in Europe which impacted sales of our autumn merchandise,” the company said.

Offline same-store sales in Asia Pacific grew by 0.3 per cent, mainly due to promotional activities. But online sales, which accounted for 24.9 per cent of the company’s revenue, fell by 14.9 per cent globally.

Eshop, almost entirely in Europe and representing 24.9 per cent of group revenue, recorded a decrease of 14.9 per cent. Online sales in Asia Pacific, which account for a mere 2.6 per cent of total e-shop sales, plummeted 36.7 per cent, largely blamed on the closure of the Australia-New Zealand business.

Wholesale revenue, almost entirely from Europe, fell 15.5 per cent.

The company reiterated comments made after its dire full-year results were released last month, which included a US$325.5 million loss in the year to June 30: “Corrective measures are in place to reignite sales momentum.”

A strategy plan will be released on November 26 outlining how the company plans to sharpen its brand identity, putting the customer at the centre of everything it does; improve product offering and brand positioning; reduce complexity and improve accountability in the organisation; become a leaner organisation; and eliminate loss-making parts of the business.

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