Against a backdrop of difficult market conditions leading fashion retailer M&Co has announced an earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £8.7 million for the year to February 2019.
Online sales have shown growth with an increase of 2%, despite a drop of 4% across all channels, while store like-for-like sales were down.
The group has invested £13.7m in capital expenditure over the past two years including the implementation of a significantly upgraded electronic point of sale system across all stores, introduction of new software technology to improve performance in store, increased online warehouse capability, new store fit-outs and the purchase of further freehold properties.
M&Co – which has several stores in Tayside and Fife – owns its distribution centre, support offices and 20% of its trading retail estate.
Chief executive Andy McGeoch commented: “In the face of unprecedented trading challenges the business has delivered a solid performance over the last financial year.
“Our low net debt, committed bank facilities and strong balance sheet have enabled us to deliver continued investment and improvements in all areas of our operation.
“Like most retailers we are feeling the impact of the widely reported economic and political uncertainty in the UK, and while this puts pressure on margins we are confident that we have a robust blueprint for long term future growth to navigate these complexities.
“A key priority for M&Co has been expanding our product range and over the last twelve months we have successfully launched two new brands Khost Clothing and Sonder Studio, which have not only increased choice for existing customers but allowed access to new market segments.”
M&Co’s net debt was £8.7m at the year end, down £10.5m, from £19.2m last year.
This reduction has been achieved through strong trading cash generation, tight stock management, controlled capital investments and income from some freehold property sales.
The firm has a team of almost 3,000 employees across the UK in its stores, distribution centre and support offices.
The M&Co Loyalty Scheme has grown to a membership of over 2.5 million, enabling the company to build strong customer relationships and to measure the effectiveness of direct marketing initiatives.
The group said it remained committed to growing brand awareness through further investment in online marketing and advertising.
Mr McGeoch, added: “Our people and culture form the cornerstone of the business and we will continue to invest in making M&Co a great place to work and the employer of choice in the retail sector, offering exciting career opportunities in both our stores and our support centres.”