Fashion chain Quiz has seen shares plummet as it revealed annual losses more than trebled after lockdowns forced store closures and hammered demand for party wear.
The group’s delayed full-year figures showed underlying pre-tax losses widened to £9.6 million for the year to March 32 against losses of £3.1 million the previous year after revenues plunged 66%.
Shares in the group tumbled more than 26% in morning trading despite signs that trading is starting to recover, albeit slowly.
Quiz said sales have “gradually” improved since coronavirus restrictions were lifted, with like-for-like trading “approaching pre-pandemic levels”.
The group said it notched up £30.6 million of sales in the five months to August 31, a 132% increase year on year.
Quiz 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.
Online revenues fell 42% in the year to March, while UK stores and concessions saw an 82% plunge.
Tarak Ramzan, founder and chief executive of Quiz, 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.”
Quiz 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.
It said underlying operating costs were slashed by 47% to £38.8 million.
The group said it was now targeting a higher proportion of revenues from its own stores and website, which have traditionally generated higher returns.
The shift will see the proportion of revenues generated from UK concessions cut from around 20% before the pandemic to less than 10% going forward.