The venture capitalist Jon Moulton – who closed the delivery group City Link at Christmas with 2,700 job losses – had to cut prices at Jaeger to protect sales over the festive period.
Mr Moulton’s Better Capital, which has come under fire for the City Link closure, bought the then loss-making the fashion brand for a knockdown £19.5m in 2012 from the rag trade veteran Harold Tillman, who has recently been linked with a bid to buy back the business.
The pre-Christmas Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales extravaganzas pushed sales at stores open more than a year up 8 per cent in the 13 weeks to 3 January, although milder weather forced Jaeger into price cuts in the autumn.
The resulting margin squeeze has already prompted Better Capital to write £6m off the value of the business, to £50m, in its most recent November figures. But Jaeger’s chief executive Colin Henry said the turnaround plans for the brand, including re-establishing its British heritage, were “paying off”.
Sales at the new flagship store in Chelsea are up 16 per cent since its refurbishment last September, online sales jumped 78 per cent and click-and-collect sales rose 82 per cent. Cashmere sales nearly doubled as Jaeger introduced more expensive fabrics.
Mr Henry said: “The consumer environment remains challenging, and there is still a lot of work to do… [But] this performance gives us confidence.”
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