Anya Hindmarch says last year's store closures helped brand in 2020
While store closures in recent years have been difficult for Anya Hindmarch, the business is emerging stronger, its founder said in an interview this week.
And she feels that while closing stores “can make you feel a bit of a loser”, shutting most of the boutiques was the right thing to do.
Hindmarch returned to the role of CEO and creative director last year after Mayhoola Investments sold control of the brand to the Marandi family and the company was repositioned as a more online-focused brand.
Hindmarch told The Times that the luxury bags label had been a “bit of a broken child” before she exited 16 stores last year, leaving only five open. At one point three years ago, the company had 46 stores.
While the store closures led to sales falling by a fifth to just under £20 million in 2019, the newspaper said it has seen figures that showed losses narrowed to £8.2 million from £9.6 million. That came as like-for-like store sales rose 7%.
Hindmarch said in the interview that “we need retail, but there has to be an exciting reason for stores. We have pruned the business really hard so we can build it back better.”
That attitude helped online sales rise 24% last year as the company prioritised social media marketing.
And Hindmarch added that the store closures and online shift last year helped the business cope better than it might have done in 2020. “Thank goodness we made those changes last year because if we’d had lots of stores during this crisis it would have been terrifying. Instead, it has been a very pleasing year,” she said.
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