LONDON — Lockdowns and business disruption due to COVID-19 took a big bite out of Stella McCartney’s business in fiscal 2021, with the company reporting losses of 32.7 million pounds on turnover of 32.5 million pounds, according to the latest filing at Companies House in the U.K.
Turnover in the 12 months to Dec. 31, 2021, rose 14 percent, while losses after-tax increased by 4.3 percent compared with the previous year. According to the filing, no dividends were paid.
The Companies House statement also clarified that the business, which counts LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton as a minority shareholder, had a loan agreement with its parent company, Anin Star Holding Ltd., for a total of 98.1 million pounds.
Like many others, McCartney’s business ran into trouble in 2020 during the pandemic, with international travel and tourism grinding to a halt, brick-and-mortar stores shutting and expenses piling up.
As reported, the business began retrenching and restructuring in July 2020. It laid off staff, asked others to reduce their salaries for an extended period, and cut back on certain activities with an eye on reducing the overall cost base.
The company’s founder and designer McCartney did not pay herself a salary that year.
At the time, the brand’s president and chief executive officer Gabriele Maggio told WWD that “in common with all companies within our sector, we are currently dealing with one of the most challenging periods faced by any generation, and are conducting a review in order to adapt our business to the changing economics of our industry.”
During the ensuing months, the brand made changes to its distribution, taking e-commerce in-house, and managing the business via its Italian subsidiary, Stella McCartney Italia Srl. It also transferred the childrenswear business to a license with Simonetta SpA, among other changes.
Contacted on Tuesday, the brand declined to comment on the 2021 numbers.
The brand’s continuing efforts in sustainability have also been costly. McCartney has been at the forefront of sustainable design and sourcing and is due to release her latest environmental profit and loss accounts in the next days.
Hers was one of the first brands — under former owner Kering — to undertake an environmental profit-and-loss audit, which sees a company make a detailed measure of its impact on the environment.
McCartney has made big strides on the sustainability front, creating biodegradable fur coats from plant-based materials such as corn, and crafting eco-friendly stretch denim made with mushroom and seaweed dyes.
Last July, she launched the Frayme Mylo bag, which is made entirely from mycelium, the weblike roots of fungi.
The handbag, which McCartney made in collaboration with the California-based Bolt Threads, retailed at 1,995 pounds.
McCartney said it was the first time that a “mushroom handbag” was available for sale. She added that it marked a milestone in her longstanding relationship with Bolt, and in overall vegan material innovation.
She’s also been working with industry leaders on finding sustainable solutions for the fashion industry.
Since selling a minority stake in her company to LVMH in the summer of 2019, McCartney has been advising its founder Bernard Arnault, and LVMH management, on sustainability.
Last June, McCartney was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, or CBE, in Queen Elizabeth’s Birthday honors list. She received an OBE, or Order of the British Empire award, from the queen in 2013.
The designer has also been working with King Charles III on environmental projects, and in 2021 represented the fashion industry at the G7 summit in Cornwall, England.
Ahead of the summit, the king (then Prince of Wales) gathered some of the most powerful CEOs to meet with world leaders in Cornwall and demand “coordinated action to tackle climate change.” The group is known as the Coalition of the Willing, and the leaders manage a total of $60 trillion.
At the time, McCartney said she was honored to represent the fashion industry, “one of the most polluting in the world. My goal is to drive change, encourage investments and create lasting difference through incentives supporting the next generation.”