French Connection have posted a 4.5 per cent drop in like-for-like (LFL) sales for the six months to 31 July this year as the company continues to struggle to turn a profit.
The UK based global retailer, also known as FCUK, has been in decline for a number of years but has improved the slide. Following operating losses in the UK/Europe from £7.7m last year, the company has reduced these to £6.6m.
Neil Saunders, Managing Director of Conlumino, comments: “For a number of years French Connection has been addicted to the discounting drug which has been necessary in order for it to shift stock. However, over the latest trading period the new management team shortened the seasonal sale period and managed to achieve a greater sell through of stock at full margin.
“While these results are, therefore, a step in the right direction, French Connection will have to work far harder if it is to swing back into profitability. While there has been some progress, French Connection still does not quite hit the mark in terms of both delivering the latest trends and putting its own unique angle on them. There is a strong sense that the brand remains lost in the fashion wilderness.”
The fashion retailer reported flat LFL sales this May as it made progress following last years retail review.
Its North American retail arm reported a 2.4 per cent in LFL sales but overall revenue was down seven per cent in local currency due to reductions in store base. There was a good performance in China and Hong Kong as two new stores opened and LFL sales grew 6.4 per cent.
The labels’ latest Autumn/Winter campaign, shot by photographer Rankin, has attracted praise for its eclectic outfits but could continue to struggle for market share amongst consumers who are well served by a range high street fashion labels.