The Scottish retailer’s new financial year has also started well, according to chief executive Andy McGeoch
M&Co says it will open at least 60 new stores in the next five years
Value fashion chain M&Co has said it plans to open more than 60 new stores during the next five years after an increase in annual profits and a positive start to the current financial year.
The Renfrewshire-based company posted a 37 per cent rise in operating profits to £6m during the year to February on sales of £165.6 net of VAT. Chief executive Andy McGeoch said the privately-owned business has since seen “further positive progress” in like-for-like sales.
M&Co opened stores in 14 new towns during the year, with one relocation to a larger unit. It has nearly 300 stores world-wide, with most based in the UK.
The target now is to open a further 12 to 15 stores annually for the next five years.
“The high street is still a challenging environment, with high business rates, cost inflation and international currency fluctuations denting our buying power with suppliers,” McGeoch said.
“However, we will continue to invest in refreshing the appearance of our stores, with over half having benefitted from refits. Furthermore, we have and will continue to invest heavily in IT to help use new technologies to drive efficiency and enhance the customer experience.”
Debt fell by £1.1m to £10.5m. The company employs nearly 3,500 staff across the UK in its stores, head office and support facilities.
“E-commerce sales continue to grow strongly with the brand offer now reaching a UK and global customer audience beyond our store catchment areas,” McGeoch said. “Our e-commerce strategy complements our store base.
“Our digital transformation over the last few years has seen the launch of several successful new and innovative ventures that continue to greatly contribute to the strong performance of the company as a whole.”
The company said like-for-like sales grew by 1.8 per cent during the year, with gross margins improving from 21.9 to 23.7 per cent. It operates 25 international franchise stores in 12 countries.