Glasgow fashion chain Quiz closes 15 stores amid Covid sales pain: New Look latest

Quiz, the Glasgow-headquartered “fast fashion” retailer, said it has been “encouraged” by a sales recovery in recent weeks but about 15 of its UK stores are to remain shuttered in the wake of a major restructuring.

Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 12:31 pm
Quiz sales were helped by extending its casual ranges as shoppers turned away from smarter items and occasion-wear. Picture: Quiz
Quiz sales were helped by extending its casual ranges as shoppers turned away from smarter items and occasion-wear. Picture: Quiz

Releasing a trading update which laid bare the impact of the pandemic on its business, the group told investors that 48 of the 75 UK outlets it operated prior to lockdown have reopened, and it expects to increase this to 60 sites in total.

In June, the clothing retailer put its stores business into administration with the loss of 93 jobs. It also closed its seven branches in Ireland and three in Spain as part of the restructuring.

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As of this week, the group has reopened four of those stores with negotiations continuing in relation to two other outlets, though it has decided not to reopen any of the Spanish sites.

The update on its restructuring came as the company revealed that overall revenues plunged by 77 per cent to £13 million for the five months to the end of August after it was hammered by the enforced closure of stores. It said it also discounted heavily on products to account for “lower demand”, meaning gross profit margins slid by around 6 per cent.

Online sales were down by 54 per cent over the period to £8m, despite the channel remaining open during the lockdown.

Sales through its website steadily improved during the period, it added, but in August remained 11 per cent lower than the same period last year. It was boosted by extending its casual ranges as shoppers turned away from smarter items and occasion-wear.

Sales from UK stores and concessions slumped 89 per cent to just £2.9m during the five-month period. However, Quiz said it had been “encouraged by the consistent improvement” in like-for-like sales in recent weeks.

Revenues from the group’s international business interests dived 81 per cent to £2.1m, while the closure of Debenhams stores in Ireland cut its international concessions by more than half to 11.

During the period the group’s primary customer in the US entered a bankruptcy process and its future remains uncertain. Quiz said it was “actively pursuing new opportunities” in the market.

Meanwhile, high street retailer New Look has failed in attempts to secure a sale of the business, putting its future in the hands of landlords set to vote on a restructuring deal next week.

The company warned that it could be forced to consider “less favourable alternatives”, which are understood to include liquidation, if creditors do not back its proposals.

Last month, the fashion chain said it was canvassing sales interest in a bid to secure its long-term future.

However, it revealed on Wednesday that a deadline for bids passed on Tuesday without progress after no bids were made for the whole firm.

The company’s future will now rely upon securing backing from landlords for its company voluntary arrangement (CVA) proposals, which go to a vote on 15 September.

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