Shares in online womenswear brand In The Style (ITS:AIM) fell out of fashion on Friday, cheapening 14% to 168.5p after the company warned increased freight costs, supply chain disruption and an increased product returns rate will impact the group’s profitability.

The earnings alert left the shares languishing 16% below March’s 200p initial public offering placing price and overshadowed the fact the e-commerce fashion firm continues to deliver strong sales growth.

This is being driven by the increasing awareness of its differentiated brand and the expansion of its influencer collaboration model.

Founded in 2013 by entrepreneur Adam Frisby (pictured below), the In The Style brand champions ‘female empowerment, inclusivity, body positivity and real beauty’ and the company currently partners with 15 influencers including Stacey Solomon, Dani Dyer, Jacqueline Jossa and Billie Faiers.

HIGHER RETURNS & SUPPLY CHAIN PAIN

In the period from April to August 2021, consumer demand shifted towards occasionwear, which typically carries a higher rate of returns than the leisurewear categories that dominated the sales mix during last year’s lockdowns.

Furthermore, faster than anticipated progress in growing sales of In The Style’s more inclusive size ranges has resulted in an increase in the rate of returns.

In addition, In The Style has ‘not been immune to the impact of the widely documented freight and supply chain disruption during recent months’.

The company warned these increased freight costs and disruption to the timing of shipments are expected to remain ‘for at least the remainder of the current financial year which, in combination with the increased returns rate in the period, will impact the group’s profitability’.

RAPID GROWTH

Encouragingly, group revenue grew 45% year-on-year between April and August, boosted by the continued expansion of its influencer collaboration model and increased demand driven by the return of social events over the summer.

New wholesale partnerships, including a successful launch in 100 ASDA stores in May, resulted in wholesale sales increasing by in excess of 200% year-on-year, stressed In the Style.

CEO Adam Frisby insisted he was ‘pleased with the strong sales momentum achieved during the financial year to date’, with this momentum supported by ‘increasing consumer awareness of In The Style and our clear brand mission to empower customers to be brave, embrace body confidence and, most of all, love themselves for who they are.’

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Issue Date: 24 Sep 2021