Asia drives All Saints growth
Asia has proven the major driver of All Saints growth in the last year’s reported sales.
A stellar set of results was led by international sales growth of 12 per cent to £108.2 million, as it opened 23 new stores internationally in countries including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the US.
The retailer has big ambitions for its international arm, as it aims for international sales to account for nearly two-thirds of the business by 2020 (currently 43 per cent), with Asia and the Middle East being the prime focus. All Saints has also performed well in its home market, with UK sales up 7.4 per cent to £144.3 million, while online sales grew 33 per cent to reach £47.3 million – 19 per cent of total sales.
All Saints’ continued success is evidence of how having a distinct design signature, desirable brand image and a loyal shopper base is imperative in a tough trading environment, as it keeps the brand front of mind for shoppers. The retailer has remained true to its edgy design aesthetic, and translated it effectively into range extensions such as its Capital collection of women’s handbags. It is also capitalising upon its relatively unique position of being equally desirable for both men and women (sales are split almost equally) by launching a men’s bags and accessories ranges, following the success of the Capital collection. All Saints continues to keep shoppers engaged via regular product drops, a broad but well-edited collection and a distinct instore customer experience.
All Saints has maintained tight control over its brand image, and chosen to enter new markets directly through own stores and partnerships with department stores, rather than through wholesale and licensing – a strategic move that has helped make its mark in new territories without diluting the brand.
It has also managed to control online costs effectively as it owns its distribution centres and does its website coding in-house; while its diversified market presence and direct sourcing model has helped it achieve a natural hedging position, broadly protecting it from currency fluctuations.
All Saints’ focus on controlling costs and protecting brand image as it expands, will continue to stand it in good stead, and help achieve sales growth in 2016/17.
- Nivindya Sharma is a senior analyst with Verdict Retail.