The company said in the current fiscal year it is focusing on its growth across the U.K. and U.S. markets; driving technology and operational improvements, as well as starting a discussion with its shareholders and lenders regarding a lending facility for the end of August 2024.
The brand reported its results for the year ending Jan. 31, 2023, with revenues declining 1.7 percent to 380.1 million pounds.
Adjusted EBITDA losses widened to 33.7 million pounds from 25 million pounds.
The retailer revealed that customer orders totaled 758.2 million pounds, compared to 677.1 million pounds the previous year.
Only five months of Beighton’s tenure is taken into account in the results. He joined the company in July last year and is firm on reinstating Matches to its former glory days with a focus on refreshing the leadership team; partnership work; refining the product offerings, and the brand’s technology.
“We’re doing a massive cultural reboot and the reason for that is the team has had four different CEOs in as many years — having people anchored in what we’re trying to achieve is really important because we can’t do anything without the people,” Beighton said in an interview.
“Since I arrived, we significantly reduced fixed and variable costs focusing on the panacea in e-commerce. As we go into Christmas, we’re in good shape and we’ve got the stock levels we need and we’ve got an operational plan that everyone’s behind. We’re expecting the competitors to be quite promotional. We’re ready to react if necessary,” he added.
Matches has changed its name back to its monolith used when it was founded by Tom and Ruth Chapman in 1987.
The brand will be revealing its partnership with a few U.K. luxury brands that are not limited to fashion, to grow its customer database.
“I don’t want to just pay digital marketing or Google to acquire those customers, I want to build something more enduring and more deep. A shared experience between those luxury brands and Matches,” Beighton said.
He wants a cohesive experience for its customers from top to bottom, which starts by connecting the dots from social media and e-commerce to its stores. If a customer sees a campaign for red bags on the website, Beighton wants that same concept reflected in other areas of Matches.
The same strategy is being applied to the retailer’s iOS app headed up by Andrea Trocino, who joined the business as chief product and technology officer in December 2022.
Beighton, a former Asos CEO who transformed the e-commerce platform into a 4 billion pound operation, said he hires “for values and attributes, as well as experiences. I always try not to be too attached to CVs.”
Trocino worked with Beighton during his eight years at Asos, where he started off as head of mobile and worked his way up to chief product officer in 2018 before leaving at the end of 2020.
He developed the first mobile website and native apps for the company in 2011 — by 2021, the company had 30 million users. During his tenure, mobile revenues became 80 percent of the business’ revenue.
Under Trocino’s guidance, the Matches website now follows a uniform of one font as opposed to seven, which it previously had.
“If you clean up the technology and clean up the fonts, the brain perceives a smoother shopping experience. We’ve made the website faster, which we know is really important for conversion,” explained Beighton, adding that they’re in the midst of working on simplifying the checkout process. In the meantime they’ve implemented Apple Pay into the system.
Around 5 percent of Matches’ affluent customers contribute to just under 40 percent of the retailer’s revenues.
Beighton has been reducing the number of brands on offer to drive better availability and admits that working with luxury brands results in longer lead times on products than a typical high street retailer.
The CEO’s plans for Matches come as two of its main competitors are in transition mode. In October, WWD reported that the European Commission had “unconditionally” cleared the acquisition by Farfetch of a 47.5 percent stake in Yoox Net-a-porter in a decision that had widely been expected.
The approval came seven months after the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority approved the transaction, which was first announced in August 2022.
Even though there are no talks of Matches being acquired, Beighton is not completely closed off to the idea if it were to present itself in the future.
“If it creates any opportunities for us to grow faster and acquire new customers, we will be all over it,” he said.
In June 2023, Matches secured an additional 20 million pounds from private equity investor Apax to support its growth.
Apax gave the company its biggest vote of confidence last January in the shape of 60 million pounds in fresh funding. The investment came on the heels of an improved performance under Beighton. The 60 million pounds consisted of 40 million pounds in fresh equity and 20 million pounds in debt.