Glasgow 'fast fashion' chain Quiz sees post-lockdown bounce after 2020 wipe-out

Quiz, the Glasgow-headquartered “fast fashion” retailer, saw its shares slide as it revealed annual losses had more than trebled after lockdowns forced store closures and dented demand for party wear, though a recovery appears underway.

The group's full-year figures showed underlying pre-tax losses widened to £9.6 million for the year to March 31 against a shortfall of £3.1m the previous year after revenues slid 66 per cent during a challenging 12 months.

But Quiz, which has its head office in Glasgow and a distribution centre in Bellshill, said sales have "gradually" improved since Covid restrictions were lifted, with like-for-like trading "approaching pre-pandemic levels".

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The group said it notched up £30.6m of sales in the five months to the end of August, a 132 per cent increase on a year earlier.

Glasgow-headquartered Quiz is an 'omni-channel fashion brand', specialising in occasion wear and dressy casual wear. Picture: Quiz plc

The firm has been hit hard by the pandemic, with even online sales failing to make up for lockdown store closures as the cancellation of social events decimated demand for its trademark occasion wear.

Founder and chief executive Tarak Ramzan said: "We have taken decisive actions to position the business to return to long-term profitable growth, including reducing the size of our store estate, decreasing costs, and maintaining very tight cash management.

"We have continued to invest in our own e-commerce channels as we optimise our omni-channel model.

"We remain confident in the strength and appeal of Quiz as an occasion wear-led brand, as has been evidenced by the increase in demand... as social events returned during the summer."

The group axed 17 underperforming stores as part of cost-saving efforts, taking its estate down to 61 in the UK and seven in Ireland by the year end

Walid Koudmani, market analyst at financial brokerage XTB, noted: “We saw strong selling out of Quiz Group shares in early trade as investors reacted to the firm’s annual results which saw a 66 per cent decline in revenues. Covid has its fingerprints all over the firm’s annual results.

“Nevertheless, sales of £30.6m in the five months to August 31 is strong but equally, with high expectations, a tad disappointing, and given such a strong share price rise since July, a sell off was inevitable as investors locked in profits.”

Shares were down 26 per cent in morning trade on Wednesday.

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