PRINGLE of Scotland, the knitwear favoured by celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson, Madonna and Tilda Swinton, has narrowed its annual losses despite suffering a 30 per cent slide in sales.
The firm’s owners, the Hong Kong-based Fang family, also admitted they do not expect it to deliver a profit in the near future but pledged to keep investing in the business.
Parent group Pringle Enterprises ploughed £6 million into the company during the past financial year, which ended on 26 January, and has injected a further £4.3m since then.
Latest figures filed with Companies House show Pringle of Scotland’s annual turnover fell to £5.9m, from £8.5m the previous year.
Gross margins also came under pressure because of changes in the mix of sales, but a sharp reduction in running costs helped pre-tax losses narrow to £6.4m, down from £9.6m a year earlier.
Average headcount across the firm, which was established by Robert Pringle almost two centuries ago in the Borders, fell from 81 to 70 during the year, landing it with redundancy costs of £30,000.
Writing in the company’s annual report, chairman Douglas Fang said: “The directors are not expecting to report operating profits in the short term but are satisfied that the development of the brand and of the business are progressing in line with their long-term strategic objectives.”
They added that they were satisfied with its “financial position and future prospects”.
The Fang family bought the company in 2000 from Dawson International for about £6m. Although it is now run from Hong Kong and London following the closure of its historic base in Hawick in 2008, some production is carried out at Scottish mills.