Russell & Bromley struggles in latest year as sales and profits fall
Upscale footwear specialist Russell & Bromley saw a third consecutive year of declining sales in 2017 with revenue falling to £100.6 million while operating profit dropped by £11.6 million to only £6.7 million.
The company’s sales were as high as £117.6 million as far back as 2013 and the latest profit figure is also well below what it earned then. It shows a retailer battling against a number of issues in its business.
It cited sterling depreciation, increased business rates and a higher national minimum wage as having a negative impact on its profit figure, but Karla Rendle, Senior Retail Analyst at GlobalData, believes that “the difficulty of selling at full price will have also come into play as shoppers have become accustomed to regular discounts and promotions in the footwear sector.”
The analyst also believes that the company needs to “better justify its prices to shoppers by showcasing its quality credentials and value for money, or it risks its 1.3% UK market share falling further.”
She thinks the retailer is missing a trick by not operating more concessions. It has just two concessions in Fenwick department stores.
And she’s recommending that it pursue opportunities through online retailers such as Farfetch, which could “also widen access to shoppers while maintaining its premium reputation.”
Another key area the analyst say it’s missing is the younger shopper given that its core customer is aged 35-55. She’s recommending greater investment in next-day click & collect, cheaper delivery options, and also that it should consider using high-profile influencers to make more of an impact on social media.
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