New Jack Wills store will offset currency woes

Alys Key, City A.M.

Varsity-style clothing retailer Jack Wills will open its first mainland Europe store in Germany this year, as part of a strategy to increase sales in overseas currencies.

The company hopes to offset the effect of the weaker sterling by developing a "natural hedge" through new openings abroad.

Founder and chief executive Peter Williams said: "What we are trying to do is to get well balanced in our business so that it is equally split between the UK and international.

"It doesn't matter which channel the sales come from, simply that our revenues and profits are well balanced because then foreign exchange becomes irrelevant because you have a natural hedge."

There are currently 82 Jack Wills stores worldwide, 66 of which are in the UK. The rest are in the US, Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau and Kuwait.

The decision to expand to Germany comes as a result of strong online sales in the country, which last year jumped by 75 per cent.

Williams said the growing popularity of the brand was because "many people in Germany are very Anglophile in their tastes."

"Germany is a classic example of the organic growth of the brand where the brand has travelled by itself and the growing online sales show us that we should have stores in the region."

The new opening is expected to be the first in a series of international locations for Jack Wills, which will enter several new markets in the coming year as part of the overseas sales strategy.

Williams returned to Jack Wills as chief executive in 2015. He later teamed up with private equity firm Bluegem to buy the company from investor Inflexion.



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