Fashion retailer Moss Bros has announced pre-tax profit of £2.2 million in its half-year report, as the group continues to perform ahead of expectations.
Covering the period from January 31st to July 30th 2011, the report reveals that like-for-like (LFL) sales, including VAT, are up 15.4 per cent compared to the same period last year, while the pre-tax profit figure follows a loss of £2.8 million in 2010.
The branded suit specialist has seen a strong improvement in sales in the last two years, following the appointment of CEO Brian Brick in 2009.
Brick has overseen the implementation of the company’s new sub-brand Bespoke into stores nationwide, as well as the development of more outlets that contain the company’s traditional retail offering, hirewear and Bespoke all under one roof.
Moss Bros Hire has witnessed record sales in the period of £8.9 million, following the introduction of a new distribution system last year.
The disposal of 15 Hugo Boss and eight Cecil Gee stores in the first half lead to a combined cash consideration of £19.8m, generating a profit on sale of £8.0m.
Speaking to Retail Gazette earlier this year, Brick stated that, while the outlook for the fashion sector was challenging, the company remained positive in its offerings.
“There are real retail winners at present but also some heavy losers,” he said.
“If your offer is right and you are on your game the public are still spending money, but if you are slightly off then you are going to struggle. I’m confident Moss Bros is in the winners’ camp.”
Gross margin increased by 2.7 per cent in the first six months, while LFL retail sales excluding hire purchases also performed well increasing by 16.3 per cent.
Brick welcomed the results, though acknowledged that the continuing struggles within the economy have marginally impacted the retailer.
“Whilst the economy has not materially picked up, the Group has traded well ahead of last year across both hire and retail in the first six months of the year,” he continued.
“This trend has continued into the second half, albeit at a lower level than the first half due to strengthening comparatives.
“We continue to make good progress on our strategic priorities of focusing investment on the look and product mix of the core Moss stores, planning our integrated e-commerce offering and exploring ways of leveraging our customer data, whilst at the same time applying careful management of our costs, to ensure we have resilience in the event that there is a further downturn in consumer spending.