Book retailer Foyles has hailed a revamp of its loyalty scheme as a major factor in its turnaround, which has seen the business return to profitability following years in the doldrums.
The retailer, which has six stores in Birmingham, Bristol and London, said gross profits grew by 0.6% to £6.9m in 2015 compared with 2014, when it made a gross profit of £6.52m, but an operating loss of £0.6m due to significant exceptional write-offs.
In June 2014, Foyles moved from its original bookshop on Charing Cross Road to a new flagship fitted with four miles bookshelves, with authors including Hilary Mantel, Michael Palin and Jarvis Cocker turning up at the grand opening and sales at the flagship up by 10% year-on-year.
Group turnover for the year grew by 4.3 per cent to £24.4m compared with £23.4m in 2014, boosted in part by a strong Christmas when Ladybird’s series of spoof guides for adults on themes ranging from hipsters to hangovers made up the top ten bestsellers.
Paul Currie was appointed chief executive of Foyles in April 2015, replacing Sam Husain. Since then, he has overhauled the “Foyalty” loyalty scheme and has since embarked on a comprehensive strategy to turn the business into a truly multi-channel retailer with a strong focus on customer service.
Currie said: “We have returned the business from being at a loss in a year of great change to a position of profit and stability. This has been achieved through careful cost control and smart operating processes, with thanks to our customers for their continued loyalty.”
“Whilst this is an improvement on 2013/14, we are still challenged by low margins in a retail sector that has heavy costs of operations and low sales density. We continue to explore ways of ensuring the sustainability of the business, through initiatives such as the successful development of our digital delivery systems,” he added.
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