Zeon Limited, the owner of Ingersoll and licensed watchmaker for Vivienne Westwood, Braun and Jack Wills, has reported sales of £9.38 million for the financial year ending March 31.
The turnover was a new record for the company, although only a whisker up on £9.36 million in the prior year.
Zeon is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Herald Group, a Hong Kong publicly quoted company. Herald Group also owns Zeon Far East, which procures watches from third party suppliers and sells them to customers identified by Zeon in the UK. Zeon Far East retains around 3% of the value of these sales with the balance attributed to the UK.
This arrangement is known as FOB sales, and Zeon Ltd says it saw a 40% dip last year.
Zeon Ltd reported operating losses widening from £408,000 to £1.76 million, which the company says is largely a result of investment in the United States, where it is pushing on with building a network of retail partners.
A director’s report accompanying the 2017-18 accounts says that Herald Group continues to provide financial support for this investment and ensuing losses. It will continue to provide such funds as the company needs, the report states.
Zeon has moved away from licensed character products due to the low margin and competitive nature of these products, and is focusing on its strongest brands, with both Vivienne Westwood and Ingersoll continuing to show “good growth”, according to the financial statement.
The company says it wants to work with a smaller number of brands that have global reach. The launch of Jack Wills this year is an example where watches have the potential to hit an international market, not only through the fashion retailer’s 320 stores around the world, but also through department stores, jewellers and other fashion stores.