Hush delivers record revenue and profits in a year of significant strategic progress

Hush, the fast-growing women’s fashion and lifestyle brand, is pleased to announce record financial results for the year ended 27 March 2021 (“FY21”) as well as an update on its continued trading momentum during the first six months of the current financial year to 25th September 2021 (the “H122”).

Financial Highlights:

  • FY21 revenue increased by 23% to £58.0m (FY20: £47.3m), achieved despite prolonged periods of closures across both Hush’s and its partners’ store estates
  • Continued strong momentum both through Hush’s website and third-party websites resulted in e-commerce growth of 43%. E-commerce sales represented 95% of total sales (FY20: 81%)
  • FY21 operating profit increased by 169% to £11.4m (FY20: £4.2m)
  • Continued strong momentum in the first six months of the current financial year despite the unpredictable trading backdrop, with revenues up 20% against the prior year and up 42% on a two-year basis

Strategic Highlights:

  • Continued strong new customer acquisition trends, with the Hush customer database increasing by 25% in FY21 and the number of new customers introduced to the business up by 54%
  • In March 2020, Hush received the first external investment in the company’s 18-year history from True Global, Europe’s only retail and consumer sector private equity specialist, marking an exciting and ambitious new chapter in the brand’s continued growth story
  • To support Hush’s long-term growth ambitions the company appointed highly experienced retail industry leader Susanne Given as its first ever Non-Executive Chair in November 2020
  • The business made continued investment in its senior leadership team, with a number of appointments including a new Chief Financial Officer, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Marketing Officer
  • £85,000 raised for long-term corporate charity partner Crisis and more than £60,000 for NHS charities
  • The brand’s strong performance and operational initiatives were recognised with Retailer of the Year (£30-£100m) Award win at the 2021 Drapers Awards

A record financial performance

Hush delivered a very strong performance during FY21, particularly when taking into account the impact of Covid-19 and the associated trading restrictions on the brand’s pop-up stores and retail partner concessions during the year.

The business delivered a 23% increase in sales to £58.0m, driven primarily by continued growth through the brand’s e-commerce website and those of its digital partners, which increased by 43%. This very strong performance reflects the strength of the Hush brand, the appeal of its product offering, and consumers’ accelerated shift to online shopping following the onset of Covid-19 restrictions. This top line growth, combined with exceptional lower marketing and retail costs, drove a very strong operating profit performance, which increased 169% to £11.4m.

Despite the closure of Hush’s pop-up stores and retail concessions for large parts of the year, the brand’s customer database grew by 25%. This growth in part reflected the effectiveness of Hush’s digital-led marketing strategy.

Investment in the Hush team continued with a number of senior appointments made during the period. Commercial Director Kate Bartman was promoted to Chief Executive Officer and Sheila McKain was promoted to Chief Product Officer. Don Davis joined from ASOS as Chief Financial Officer; Peter Davies from Superdry as Chief Technology Officer; and Andrew Woodward from Selfridges as Chief Marketing Officer. All bring significant experience to the business as it looks to build on its recent positive performance.

Hush’s strong financial results were mirrored by advances in its commitment to the planet and its people.

During the year Hush drove forward its sustainability efforts by increasing the proportion of ‘lower impact’ styles across its collection to more than 60% and launching a takeback service with second-hand online platform Thrift+.

Importantly, the business went further to support its people and partners by working very closely with suppliers to support them through the pandemic. It offered more generous payment terms, particularly to those in countries such as India that were badly hit by Covid-19, and maintained all order commitments despite the unprecedented and unpredictable disruption.

Internally, Hush continued to support the development of young talent through its fledgling internship programme and drove forward several people-focused initiatives including company-wide allyship training and a review of its recruitment process to actively target minority communities.

The business raised £85,000 for long-term charity partner Crisis through the donation of 20% of all Black Friday sales proceeds, and more than £63,000 for NHS charities through the sale of face masks.

Continued growth in the first half of FY22

Against the backdrop of very strong prior year comparatives, as well as the widely reported macroeconomic challenges that are impacting the retail sector, Hush has achieved further growth in the first half of the new financial year, with revenue up 20% year on year (reflecting growth of 42% over a two-year period).

This strong performance continues to be driven by high levels of customer acquisition and engagement, further sales growth through the brand’s e-commerce channel, and the positive performance experienced since the re-opening of Hush’s UK retail concessions.

Hush’s CEO, Kate Bartman, commented: “We’re delighted to report a record financial performance in the year to March 2021, with strong sales and profit growth despite the impact of Covid-19 on some of our sales channels. Our business has more than trebled in size over the past four years which is a testament to the strength of our brand, our high-quality products and excellent customer engagement. With this strong momentum, as well as the exciting investments we have made in our people and business, we are very excited about our long-term growth plans.

“We’re pleased to say that our momentum has continued into the current year against a challenging retail backdrop, and with our growing and loyal customer base, exciting new collections, and the strong performance of our bricks and mortar retail channels to complement our rapidly growing digital sales, we are very well positioned as we enter the Christmas trading period.

“Above all else, the brand’s continued success is down to our people. We have retained and recruited exceptionally talented people and continued to promote our strong ‘one team’ culture while navigating the novelties of hybrid home and office working. This performance belongs to every member of our amazing team.”