10 million pounds lifeline for ailing Pringle of Scotland

Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Pringle of Scotland has received over 10 million pounds from its Chinese parent company in the year to date, after the brand reported pre-tax losses for the ninth consecutive year. The almost 200 -year-old firm lost 6.3 million pounds  in the twelve months to January, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

This figure, however, represents a substantial improvement compared to the 9.5 million pounds loss recorded the year before.

Sales fell 31 percent to 2.6 million pounds in the twelve months ended on January. It’s noteworthy that Pringle has traded its flagship store in Sloane Street for the trendy Mount Street in Mayfair in September this year.

The Fang family - Hong Kong-based owners of clothing retailer Toppy Group, which bought Pringle in 2000 from Scottish firm Dawson International for about 6 million pounds - has never received a profit from the Scottish cashmere brand.

"The directors are not expecting to report operating profits in the short term but are satisfied that the development of the brand and of the business are progressing in line with their long-term strategic objectives," as chairman Douglas Fang made it clear in a statement.

10.3 million pounds invested in Pringle in the year-to-date

As Pringle of Scotland's accounts reveal, investors will continue injecting capital in the brand. Pringle Enterprises – parent group to the brand favoured by Tilda Swinton - has invested 6 million pounds in the company in the year to January and, according to the latest reports, a further 4.3 million pounds since then.

But this is not the first time that Pringle receives a bailout from its parent group: in November 2011, its owners invested circa 11 million pounds into the brand after it lost 7.25 million pounds from January 2010 to 2011.

On the reasons for the Fang family to stick to their Scottish fashion foray, Jean Fang, Pringle of Scotland chief executive, said: "Pringle of Scotland has a rich heritage and we are keen to expand this into new global markets through our retail presence."

As highlighted by the company, their main goals for the mid-term are to continue their international expansion, led by Pringle’s first store in mainland China in Chengdu early next year.

This will prove a challenge unless the brand defines its soul, as many fashion analysts reminded out how Pringle has lost two design directors in barely two years, with Alistair Carr leaving in June last year after serving for 12 months and replacing Clare Waight Keller, who joint Chloé.