Glasgow fast fashion chain Quiz eyes 'freedom day' sales boost

Quiz, the Glasgow-headquartered “fast fashion” retailer, is banking on freedom day boosting demand for its trademark dressy and occasion wear as people get back to socialising and events.

The firm said the pandemic had continued to impact sales with the closure of stores and concessions for part of the second quarter of the year.

Releasing a trading update for the period from April 1 to the end of June, the group reported total sales of £17.3 million, in line with the board’s expectations. This marked a £13.1m increase on the revenues generated during the comparable period last year, which was severely impacted by the first period of lockdown.

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As of June 30, the firm operated 61 stores in the UK, 13 fewer than operated prior to the start of the pandemic.

Quiz is an 'omni-channel fashion brand', specialising in occasion wear and dressy casual wear.

The number of UK concessions has fallen sharply, from 143 at the end of June 2020 to 45 at the end of last month. During the period under review, the group benefited from the Debenhams concessions trading for a short period prior to their closure allowing for the clearance of most of the stock.

Meanwhile, sales through the company’s own websites totalled £4.6m, up from £2.2m a year earlier, with revenues “steadily improving” through the period. Sales through third-party websites totalled £1.8m with this channel impacted by the cessation of sales through the Debenhams website from early April.

International revenues from stores and concessions operated by the group amounted to some £600,000, up from just £100,000 a year earlier. The firm has five overseas stores and 15 international concessions, all located in Ireland, which were closed at the start of the period and reopened in mid-May.

Revenues from international franchise partners in the period amounted to £3.1m. The group, which has its head office in Glasgow and a distribution centre in Bellshill, said it continued to pursue opportunities for long-term international growth and is confident that this can be achieved.

Gross margins compared favourably to those generated in both 2020 and 2019, bosses noted.

As of July 12, the group had a £2.7m net cash balance, up from £1.5m at the end of March. In addition, it has £3.5m of bank facilities available which are currently scheduled to expire on October 31, and which the group intends to renew.

The firm, which is headed by chief executive Tarak Ramzan, told investors: “The group continues to focus on identifying and delivering new opportunities to profitably grow revenues through its own website and store network, as well as by working with new partners appropriate for the Quiz brand.

“The group looks forward to the further relaxation of restrictions on social activities, which the board believes will result in increased demand Quiz’s ranges which have traditionally provided popular options for social events and celebrations.”

The company expects to publish results for the year ended March 31 in September.

In a trading update in April, Ramzan pointed to a “difficult trading backdrop”, but said management had taken “proactive actions” to preserve cash. A number of stores closures have taken place, including a site in Kirkcaldy.

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