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Store closures cost City Chic $1 million a month

Plus-size fashion firm City Chic Collective saw earnings drop by $1 million a month due to store closures across its network, having lost 37 per cent of its trading days since its full-year results in August.

However, with all its stores now open and trading into the busiest time of the year, chief executive Phil Ryan is confident the business’ brands will perform well over the holidays.

“We have some of the biggest weeks of the year coming up with Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas all in the next six weeks,” Ryan said.

“In our two biggest markets, the US and Australia, we have the inventory ready to drive the performance and there is strong momentum heading into the period.”

According to Ryan, the fashion group’s business is firmly centred on its digital offer, which now makes up 78 per cent of its business with over 1.2 million global active customers, and over 65 million visits per year.

And as stores have reopened, City Chic Collective’s online performance hasn’t waned. However, not all of the business’ markets are as prepared for the holidays as its Australia and US arms.

While City Chic Collective has been able to stockpile product in its two biggest markets, it is facing a more “volatile” situation: labour shortages and logistical issues across the EU and UK have meant the group’s Autumn/Winter products struggled to get to customers.

“This product had been planned and purchased, and was either in market or in a container and we were unable to handle it to be ready to send to customers,” Ryan said.

“The logistics challenges also delayed the growth potential with partners including Zalando and Debenhams as well as our Navabi site.”

The issue largely came about because, until August, City Chic Collective didn’t have a warehouse in the EU – all orders in that region were coming through the UK warehouse, leading to a set of logistic issues having a potentially outsized impact.

“This is a transient situation, and we are working with our logistics partner in the UK to find solutions so we can get back on track,” Ryan said.

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