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Fashion chain Hobbs builds global footprint

UK fashion chain Hobbs has reported a significant boost in sales driven by impressive international performances in the US and Germany.

While same-store sales rose 3.9 per cent in the 13 weeks to December 31, total sales rose 14.3 per cent due to international expansion. Retail Week said the improvement reflected investment in product range and customer experience. Online sales grew 26.7 per cent.

Hobbs joins other premium clothing retailers such as Reiss, Joules and Superdry to report positive trading results over the Christmas period.

“This shows the opportunity and success in the premium fashion market despite 2016 being an incredibly tough year for mass market clothing retailers,” observes Verdict Retail analyst Charlotte Pearce.

Last year saw Hobbs open its first international solus store in Westchester, New York and further expansion across Bloomingdales’ store network and on International sales rose by 97.9 per cent as a result.

“Hobbs’ entry into Germany will prove worthwhile due to its strong British heritage and focus on quality and fit of products,” said Pearce.

“Outerwear has been reported as a resounding success for Hobbs throughout the UK and its international markets, but as we move into spring/summer 2017 and put our coats to the back of the closet, CEO Meg Lustman and her team will need to close in on who Hobbs is targeting and which key trends will resonate best among its core shopper base to continue this run of better sales.”

Hobbs is rumoured in the financial press to be up for sale after more than a decade under 3i’s ownership.

“As we head into a difficult few years of trading, potential new owners must recognise that Hobbs is not yet out of the woods despite a better Christmas trading period.  It must firm up its place in the market and improve brand appeal and awareness to secure a loyal customer base,” concluded Pearce.

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