ITV drama lifts Ann Summers’ profits amid challenging retail environment

Ann Summers has recorded its third year of profit growth, driven by its ongoing store refurbishment programme and the airing of ITV drama series Brief Encounters.

Profit before tax climbed 180% to £2.9m in the 52 weeks to June 24, 2017, accounts filed with Companies House show.

Turnover increased from £102m to £109m in the same period.

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Ann Summers continued to roll out its store refurbishment programme in the 2016/17 financial year, opening three new stores in new locations and refitting or re-siting a further eight, including a flagship store in London’s Marble Arch.

“These stores significantly outperform the rest of our estate and we are on track with our portfolio strategy that will see all our care portfolio fitted in our latest concept within three years,” said Ann Summers CEO Jacqueline Gold.

The refurbishment programme helped Ann Summers return to profit growth in 2015 after a troublesome previous year (see below graph).

Ann Summers graph

Ann Summer’s Party Plan business witnessed a particularly strong 2017 after ITV aired a six-part drama series inspired by its launch.

Set in the 1980s, the series, titled Brief Encounters, told the story of four fictional female characters whose lives radically change as they embark on careers as Ann Summers Party Plan ambassadors.

The story was based on memoirs from Gold’s autobiography, Good Vibrations.

“Our Party Plan business has had an exceptional year where we reaped the rewards of the work put in to re-engage our party ambassadors and to drive recruitment,” said Gold.

“In July 2016 the airing of ITV’s Brief Encounters reminded the nation of their favourite night in, and Party Plan has seen double digit growth since then.”

In October 2016, Ann Summers relaunched its Knickerbox range inspired by a love of art, fashion and rebellion for the younger customer.

“Our core lingerie and fashion lines continue to be hugely successful both in our channels as well as driving demand from our wholesale partners, which include House of Fraser, ASOS and Shop Direct,” added Gold.

Gold acknowledges that the economic environment in which retailers are trading is challenging, but continues to look forward to a successful future at Ann Summers.

“At Ann Summers we put the customer at the heart of our decision making, and as a result we continue to buck the retail trend with all our channels delivering growth in both sales and profit in the financial year,” she said.

“We may face challenging times, but I continue to be excited for the future success of our business. I would like to thank the outstanding team of people I work with at head office, in our stores and our party ambassadors. I know we will all continue to inspire our customers to look and feel sexy with innovative fun and daring experiences.”

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