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Missguided 'in transition' after reporting £46.7m annual loss

Online fast fashion retailer Missguided has reported a £46.7 million loss after tax for the 12 months to 1 April 2018.

In accounts posted with Companies House, the Manchester-based e-tailer revealed that recent senior management appointments were “premature, materially increasing the cost base and diluting the influence of our founder [Nitin Passi]”.

Over the last 12 months, the retailer has seen CEO of online, Gareth Jones, and chief customer officer, Kenyatte Nelson, both depart after just eight months in their respective roles. CTO John Allen and, most recently, chief digital officer Jonathan Wall, have also left the business.

Missguided also acknowledged the two stores it has opened – in Westfield Stratford City and Bluewater – have been well received by customers but have generated insufficient revenue to cover their operating costs.

The retailer described the current year as one of “transition”, as revenue continues to increase – thanks to sales through its core eCommerce proposition but also through its burgeoning wholesale operation. Its new Mennace brand also continues to gain traction.

Group turnover for the year totalled £215.91 million, at an operating loss of £44.85 million.

At the start of 2018, Missguided began a strategic review of the business which “identified a set of corrective actions” which were implemented at a cost of £7.16 million.

Missguided and Asos – which itself revised sales and profit guidance downwards for the current financial year just before Christmas – are among the new breed of digital fashion players often held up as examples of successful modern retailers in tune with their target markets. However, their recent statements highlight they are not immune from making mistakes or from the market challenges impacting the wider industry.

In his review of the business, Passi said: “The year has been an extremely challenging one from which the brand emerges stronger and with a management team that has developed a sharper clarity on the key drivers of value in the business.”

Essential Retail broke the news last week that Nicola Tibbs has been appointed as Missguided’s head of digital. She has joined the business following four years as head of eCommerce at Dawsons Music.