Although sales for fiscal 2011/12 increased 4.6 percent to £60.7 million at Kitbag, the Findel-owned sportswear etailer posted an operating loss of £4.2 million. Legacy issues identified in unprofitable contracts, margin management and inventory control were all to blame for the loss, compared with a profit of £1.9 million last year.
To combat the decline and turn the company’s fortunes around, chief executive Andy Anson has made several appointments to bolster the management team. David Miles, formerly commercial director at Asda, was appointed interim trading director in December 2011. In September, Ralph Tucker joins from Sainsbury’s ecommerce division to take up the post on a permanent basis.
Kitbag has also appointed Martin Smith, currently working at parent company Findel, as chief financial officer; promoted Ed Boardman to commercial director, Sam Jones to director of services and named Kerry Scotney, currently head of Kitbag.com, as head of ecommerce.
To further accelerate growth, Kitbag will relaunch its website in mid-July, which according to Anson, will focus “deeper into football and rugby”. The revamped site will also introduce new sections for running, sports fashion and women’s fitness with “other categories to follow in the next few months”.
Kitbag’s operating loss last year was also attributed to “a number of contracts with an unattractive balance of risk to reward”, said Findel chief executive Roger Siddle in a statement delivering the group’s final results. He said that fixed payments to some clubs had been set at too high a level, resulting in losses when “sales failed to materialise due to poor on-pitch performance or general consumer pressures”. Anson says Kitbag has since “renegotiated a number of deals”, revealing that it has just signed a deal with the Ryder Cup to handle its ecommerce requirements for the next two tournaments, as well as renewing deals with Aston Villa FC and the British Open.
On the international front, Anson says Kitbag is looking to establish a bigger presence in Asia to mirror the success its clients Manchester United FC, Real Madrid FC and Formula One are having in the Far East. He says, “We launched a ‘Man U’ site in Mandarin and are looking to expand further.”
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