Accounts filed at Companies House show that premium high street retailer Whistles racked up losses of £15.5m before its takeover by South Africa’s Foschini Group in March.
In the 12 months to 30 January Whistles posted a pre-tax loss of £15.5m (losses in the previous year had been £2.4m) on sales up 1% at £62.2m.
According to The Sunday Times, Whistles, which operates 46 stores, 76 concessions and an e-store, had blamed the losses on a difficult trading environment and the detrimental effects of the Black Friday promotion. Its own sale had also performed poorly, compared to the previous year.
Whistles was acquired by Foschini Group, which also owns British womenswear brand Phase Eight, in March of this year. At the time its CEO Jane Shepherdson, who had led a buyout of the business in 2008 from previous owner Aurora Fashions, retained her 20% stake.
However by September Shepherdson had stood down and her responsibilities at the company were passed to her team led by brand director Helen Williamson, managing director Justin Hampshire, and creative director Nick Passmore. It was believed that by the time of her departure Shepherdson had signed of the collections for SS17 and AW17.
Shepherdon, who made her name on the high street leading Sir Philip Green’s Topshop (it is rumoured she stood down in 2007 after Green signed Kate Moss to design collections without consulting her), is for the time-being focusing on her charitable work.