French Connection has managed to stem the tide of financial losses over the first half of the year as it moved to axe widely criticised non-executives.
In the six months to the end of July, the embattled fashion retailer saw pre-tax losses drop to £5.7 million, a marked improvement on the £7.9 million a year prior.
It also closed the shutters on seven of its stores during the period, consolidating its selling space and reducing overheads by nearly 10 per cent.
This saw revenues decline from £69.2 million to £68.1 million, alongside a retail sales decline of 7.5 per cent to £38.5 million.
Despite retail like-for-likes remaining flat, wholesale sales shot up 7.2 per cent to £29.6 million. In constant currency terms, this dropped to 2.6 per cent.
Licensing also performed well, seeing sales rise 8.3 per cent to £2.6 million as French Connection hailed the success of relocating its fragrance licensee to Inter Parfums.
The relatively positive results come after Claire Kent and Dean Murray were replaced on the board. After nearly a decade in their roles the pair were accused of no longer being truly independent.
Former chief executive of MyWardrobe.com and managing director of Shop Direct‘s subsidy Very Exclusive Sarah Curran will now chair the remuneration committee.
Meanwhile, former Moss Bros chief financial officer Robin Piggot has been brought in to chair the audit committee.
Both will also hold a place on the others committee and have joined with immediate effect.
“We have definitely seen positive momentum build in the first half of the new financial year with improvements across all the divisions despite difficult trading conditions,” chairman and chief executive Stephen Marks said.
“I am confident that we will see a good performance during the rest of the year.
“We have been working with the goal of returning the group to profitability as soon as possible and, while there is still much to do, I believe that we have made significant steps to achieve that in the near future.”