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  • Nick Monjo

Rigby & Peller 2019 Comparable Sales -3.4%

Van de Velde sales fell 4.7% in 2019, to 195.5 million euros (about $216 million at current exchange rates), from 205.2 million euros (about $227 million) in 2018. In addition, sales at its Rigby & Peller stores in the U.S. continued to slide.

Besides the U.S. chain, the Belgium-based firm owns other retailers in Europe, and the PrimaDonna, Marie Jo and Andres Sarda wholesale brands.

“Profit for the period attributable to the owners of the company” decreased 17%, from 25.5 million euros in 2018 to 21.2 million euros (about $23 million) last year.

The company explained that company-wide, wholesale sales, “on comparable basis decreased by 2.2%. A decrease in lingerie was partially compensated by growth in our swim collection, partly due to the assertion of Marie Jo Swim in the year after its start-up.” Van de Velde added that retail sales, on a “like-for-like store basis decreased by 3.7%. Turnover on like-for-like store basis of our own eight stores in the US decreased by 3.4%. In Europe, turnover decreased by 3.8%.”

Late in 2019 Rigby & Peller closed its shop on Third Avenue and 62nd Street in Manhattan, which reduced the chain (which was formerly known as Intimacy) to eight.

Earlier in 2019, in announcing its half year results, Van de Velde acknowledged problems with all its stores. “Retail turnover in the first half of 2019 dropped by 6.7% compared with 2018 or by 8.8% at constant exchange rates. Turnover in Europe fell by 5.6%, whereas the United States dropped by 9.1%.” It added, “retail traffic figures dropped sharply, which was partly offset by a slightly better conversion rate.”

In 2007 Van de Velde bought a 49% position in the Intimacy chain and had acquired the retailer in its entirety by 2015. Meanwhile, in 2011, Van de Velde acquired a majority stake in Rigby & Peller, a U.K. brand founded in 1939. In 2015 the names of the all the Intimacy stores were changed to that of the English brand.

At one point the U.S. chain had close to 20 locations, but sales at the stores were disappointing under Van de Velde, and the stores were losing money by 2014. Since then locations have steadily vanished. The remaining stores include two others in New York; one each in Atlanta; Boston; Chicago; Oakbrook, IL; King of Prussia, PA; and Mclean, VA.

In discussing the prospects for 2020, Van de Velde noted “In 2019, the foundations were laid for a sustainable future of our centennial company and in 2020 we will continue to build on the strategic priorities. The vision is: regaining sustainable growth through a stronger brand offering and better service towards our retail partners.” — NM

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