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Fenwick losses deepen to £49m

Tom Shearsmith
18 August 2020

Family owned department store chain Fenwick has said its trading results “reflect the difficult trading environment”, as the group recorded an overall loss of £49m in the 53 weeks to 31 January, compared to losses of £46m in 2019.

Fenwick said net sales dropped 9% to £271.5m in the full year period.

Operating losses narrowed to almost £11.8m, compared to £17.3m in the year previous. The department store chain said this was due to increased competition online and discounting becoming prevalent on the high street.

The company concluded its' announcement: “Due to the impact of COVID-19, we anticipate that the business will make a sizeable loss in the coming year. The group has put in place a two-year secured borrowing facility as part of its contingency planning and to ensure sufficient funding.”

In February, Fenwick was reportedly turning some of its floorspace into offices as part of a plan to weather the crisis on the high street.

The proposal by Mayfair institution Fenwick, a retail flagship on New Bond Street since 1891, was given the green light after Westminster council agreed shops are facing “exceptional” challenges.

In April, the company announced the departure of its Chairman Richard Pennycook and Chief Executive Robbie Feather, as the family behind the historic department store chain planned to “closer to the running of the business”.

A spokesperson for Fenwick told “These results reflect the difficult trading environment which retailers faced even before the pandemic. While sales declined, there were a number of positive areas including in beauty and food, and we continued to roll out our online offer, which has since grown significantly.

COVID-19 has brought huge challenges for Fenwick and the sector. We are performing better than we hoped, online and in-store, and continue to have strong financial foundations. We look forward to continuing to serve our local communities with a premium, personalised and safe shopping experience.”

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