AllSaints goes marching on across American frontier


North America, the graveyard for many a British retailer and fashion brand, has proved to be a happy hunting ground for AllSaints.

Sales and profits at the hip fashion chain have surged. This week it will report that its earnings are up 18 per cent at £28.5 million in the year to January 30, on the back of a 9 per cent jump in sales to £252.5 million.

Much of the increase in sales has come from the United States. Sales in North America rose by 9.1 per cent to £83 million.

Asia offered another success story, being the fastest-growing region with sales rising by 332 per cent to £8.4 million. Overall, sales in the international business, including Europe and the Middle East, grew by 12 per cent to £108.2 million and they now account for 43 per cent of the company’s sales.

AllSaints, which calls itself a “proud British brand”, said that its home market had performed solidly, too, with sales up by 7.4 per cent to £144.3 million.

AllSaints, which sells fashion for men and women, launched a range of handbags and shoes last year that it sources from leading international producers. It has 208 stores in 18 countries and hopes to operate in more than 30.

The group has had a turbulent past. It entered the recession heavily indebted after overexpansion by its former owners Kevin Stanford, the entrepreneur, and Baugur, the Icelandic investment fund that built a huge stable of British retail investments. AllSaints came close to the brink during the financial crisis, but was saved when Lion Capital, headed by Lyndon Lea, the polo-playing millionaire, provided emergency funding before securing control.

Last year’s upbeat figures show that AllSaint’s revival, which is being driven by William Kim, its chief executive and a former Burberry executive, is on track. Mr Kim said that 19 per cent of its sales had come from online.

Mr Lea at Lion Capital, which has been rumoured to be considering a sale of AllSaints, said that the group’s “continued growth in a challenging global retail environment shows the strength of the brand and its forward-looking business model”.

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