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Moss Bros profit up as 2013 sales slow


Men’s fashion retailer Moss Bros has today reported a pre-tax profit leap of £2.1 million to £3 million in its full-year, though warned that trading since the start of the new year had slowed.

In the 52 weeks ended January 26th 2013, EBITDA rocketed 36.2 per cent to £7.9 million thanks to tight cost control and increased sales as group like-for-like (LFL) sales including VAT rose 3.9 per cent on the same period last year.

Retail LFLs climbed 4.1 per cent while the retailer’s Hire division saw LFLs increase 3.1 per cent, a solid recovery following disruption to trading due to the Royal Jubilee and Summer sporting events.

Improving its multichannel reach has been crucial to Moss Bros’ strategy and online sales jumped 54.3 per cent over the year, while the business launched a new retail website in January and established a click & collect service nationwide.

Bricks & mortar expansion is also driving sales as the retailer remains on course to refit 90 stores over the next five years, refitting a total of 14 over the year.

“We continue to make good progress and to bring momentum to the growth in profit in spite of tough trading conditions,” Brian Brick, Moss Bros CEO, said of the results.

“During 2013/14 we will continue the roll-out of the store development programme and the development of our e-commerce multichannel offering.

“In parallel, we will undertake a customer insight project, to develop a clearer brand proposition for the business, enabling us to target customers in a more defined way.

“Further opportunities for growth are well supported by our strong balance sheet.”

However, sales in the initial seven weeks of the current financial year are lagging behind last year’s figures, though the retailer pointed out that its gross margins are stronger than a year earlier.

In the seven weeks to March 16th 2013, LFL gross profit has fallen 2.4 per cent on last year though e-commerce sales are “significantly ahead” of last year as retail sales also improve.

A statement from the retailer recognised the “fragile” economy while noting that the business is on course to deliver further growth and Brick agreed that Moss Bros is well-placed to progress despite tough trading conditions.

Brick concluded: “The operational trends in the business are moving in the right direction and, although trading in the first seven weeks of 2013/14 is slightly below last year’s levels, we remain confident that the business will continue to make good progress in 2013/14 and meet market expectations.”

Published on Friday 22 March by Editorial Assistant

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