Stella McCartney got pay rise while fashion firm took furlough cash | Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney took a near £2.7m salary from her fashion company last year, up more than £220,000 on the year before, while the business claimed almost £850,000 in support from the government’s furlough scheme.

The designer’s pay went up despite a 26% fall in sales to £28.4m in the year to 31 December 2020, as sales in the UK more than halved, while the company recorded a pre-tax loss of £31.4m, according to accounts for Stella McCartney Limited filed at Companies House. The group made a £33.4m pretax loss the year before.

The accounts show McCartney’s label, in which she sold a minority stake to the French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH in 2019, said it was dependent on additional funds being provided by its new shareholder in order to remain a going concern.

LVMH, which owns a suite of high-end brands including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Givenchy, had already provided additional loans of £26.3m last year, taking its total lending to the group to just over £66m.

Stella McCartney Limited said the directors of Anin Star Holding, LVMH’s investment vehicle, had “indicated their intention to continue to make available such funds are needed by the company” but there could be no certainty that support would continue.

The London-based fashion company, which prides itself on its environmental and ethical credentials, said its aim for 2021 was to increase sales by 4% and “significantly reduce” losses. However, the business is likely to have continued to be affected by further high street lockdowns and limits on socialising imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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LVMH bought into McCartney’s label in 2019 just over a year after she ended her 17-year business partnership with its rival conglomerate Kering, and bought back its 50% stake in her brand.

McCartney, the daughter of the former Beatle Sir Paul and the late photographer and animal rights activist Linda, designed her first jacket as a teenager. After work experience at Christian Lacroix she rose to become the creative director of the Parisian fashion house Chloé, before starting her own label in a joint venture with Kering, the owner of Gucci, in 2001.

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A spokesperson for Stella McCartney Limited said: “During the lockdown senior management including Stella took a salary reduction. The 2020 accounts relate to a year of transition and the effects of the pandemic on the retail sector, yet given these challenges the brands sales have remained strong.

“In common with all companies within our sector, we are currently dealing with one of the most challenging periods faced by a generation, and are conducting a review in order to adapt our business to the changing economics of our industry.

“Our mission to end animal cruelty and to help embed sustainability as core principles in corporate conduct has delivered real progress. We are confident we can emerge stronger and better equipped to continue the vital work towards a more sustainable future for all.”

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