Menswear retailer Trinity ‘turns a corner’

While premium menswear retailer Trinity saw sales slide last year, CEO Jeremy Hobbins says there are signs the group has “turned a corner”.

Describing its figures as “less positive than I would like”, he says that in the second half of last year retail sales were up 1.4 per cent from the second half of the previous year, with this
improvement continuing “with momentum” into this year’s first quarter.

Revenues in Trinity’s most important market, Mainland China, were on a par with 2016, while sales dropped in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Hong Kong was particularly challenging because of changes in visitor demographics and consumer purchasing patterns.

“Men’s fashion is in transition and moving toward more casual styles, and Trinity’s heritage brands are all responding to this trend in their own distinct ways,” says Hobbins.

Trinity’s revenue shrank by 4.3 per cent to HK$1.7 billion (US$216 million). Excluding foreign
exchange differences, retail revenue eased by a marginal 0.3 per cent.

Overall, the group incurred a loss of $608.3 million. Gross profit was $1.1 billion, compared with $1.21 billion in the same period 12 months earlier.

In November, the Trinity board received an approach from textile manufacturer Shandong Ruyi International Fashion Industry Investment Holding to subscribe to new shares it was issuing.

“The board believes this is a major opportunity for Trinity. Ruyi has significant strength in the ready-to-wear fashion industry and its brands include Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot, together with British heritage brand Aquascutum,” says Hobbins.

Ruyi owns Renown Incorporated in Japan, from which Trinity has licensed D’Urban for many years. The company is also one of China’s largest textile producers.

Trinity chairman Dr Victor Fung Kwok King says he is certain the relationship with Ruyi will be fruitful. “This will create opportunities for Trinity to expand its brands into different categories and geographies, as well as benefit from Ruyi’s knowledge of the China market and its global textile, distribution and sales network.”

Trinity manages three other international menswear brands apart from D’Urban, namely Cerruti 1881, Gieves & Hawkes and Kent & Curwen.

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