Good morning, it's Paul here.


Quiz

As promised, I'm coming back to you about my meeting yesterday with QUIZ. This company is a Glasgow-based omni-channel clothing retailer, which is due to float later this month. The RNS giving some details about the company is here.

It was almost like looking back in time for me, as the company's business model is so similar to my old employer "Pilot" - where I was Head of Finance from 1993 to 2002. Quiz operates from around 67 UK stores, plus about 140 concessions in department stores such as Debenhams. It also has growing overseas, and online sales. It sells about 60% of online sales through its own website & apps, and the balance through third parties, such as Debenhams.com

Its product is fairly cheap, and slightly niche - in that the company focuses on "dressy" items - i.e. special occasion wear for women, e.g. party dresses, evening wear, weddings, etc. So the company doesn't try to compete on basics, but targets higher margin special occasion wear. I noticed from the company's app that everything I looked at was 100% polyester. So what one of my friends refers to as, "all fur coat, and no knickers!"

I went in to the meeting feeling rather sceptical, but at the end of it was impressed. Management & shareholders are a British Asian family, which is usually best for the clothing sector in my experience. They're self-made people who know the sector inside-out, so a tick in the box there for management.

I also found their presentation well put together, with lots of positive facts & figures - e.g. decent profitability & growth. Although I struggled to hear the softly-spoken CEO - he definitely needs amplification to be heard over the noisy aircon at Panmure's offices. The meeting was full, with analysts and brokers, plus me & my broker. Sandwiches were placed in the middle of a large board room table, which most people couldn't easily reach, so few were consumed.

You can tell a lot from the way management answer questions. The first question was from a fund manager friend of mine, who asked management to elaborate on the company's insolvency in 2009. A tricky question, but management gave a clear & honest answer, saying that their rents were too high, which combined with the recession, meant they…

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