Nov 2, 2017
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Fenwick profits fall as firm reshapes itself for future

Nov 2, 2017

Fenwick’s profits fell in the year to January as the UK market proved challenging and turnover was also down slightly. But the firm is staying upbeat as it works on modernising its business and searches for a new CEO.

Photo: Fenwick

In figures due to be filed this month, the company is reported to have said its latest financial year saw operating profit dropping 8% to £17.9 million and sales dipping to £426.4 million with company secretary Jill Anders saying in its accounts filing that “Fenwick faces some of the most volatile and challenging market conditions seen in its 134-year history.”

There was no information on how current trading is going but the environment hasn’t only stayed tough, it has worsened so Fenwick could well be suffering along with the rest of the sector.

But the firm is radically reshaping itself at present and changes being made include the closure of the Leicester and Windsor store and a new location in Colchester. It is also investing £55 million in upgrading its offer, £30 million of its being spent on its Newcastle flagship and £20 million on IT to launch a transactional website.

The company has been very late to the e-tail market and this is a major failing in a UK market that is among the most advanced online markets globally.

A new attitude is also being seen clearly in a move to cut the number of Fenwick family members directly involved with the firm. 

Former Co-op CEO Richard Pennycook has become chairman this year and is a non-family member in the role for the first time in the firm’s history. He’s looking for a new CEO after MD Adam Fenwick left last month. And Fenwick family members have also left the board. With 50 family members having a holding in the company, there is now a new family business committee to represent their interests.

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