Moss Bros issues profit warning after Christmas sales & footfall plummet

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Moss Bros Christmas

A disappointing Christmas trading season that saw a slump in sales and footfall has prompted Moss Bros to cut its profit forecast for the year.

In a trading update for the 23 weeks to January 6, the menswear retailer said retail comparable sales only edged up by 0.4 per cent.

This was because of a 12.3 per cent spike in online sales, as well as a better performance in stores between August and November.

However, during the peak Christmas trading season throughout December, Moss Bros said like-for-like store sales plunged eight per cent.

Due to the poor trading over the crucial golden month, the retail chain now expects full-year profits for the year to the end of January to come in below market expectations, between £6.5 million and £6.8 million.

It added that this would likely impact profits for 2018-2019, but it will continue investing in the business in the face of ongoing high street woes.

“We faced a very tough December trading environment, which led to a significant reduction in store footfall and a hardening of the corresponding competitive environment in which we operate,” Moss Bros chief executive Brian Brick said.

He added: “In common with many UK retailers, the year ahead looks like being an extremely challenging one, not least because of the uncertain consumer environment, wider political backdrop and significant cost headwinds we face from a weaker pound, business rates and increasing employee related costs.”

Brick also said the ongoing investment in the group was vital to “protect our position”.

Moss Bros is the latest major UK retailer to have suffered amid a highly promotional and difficult December, with profit warnings from Debenhams last week and Mothercare on Monday.

However, other fashion stalwarts such as Next, Fatface and Joules have enjoyed a relatively good Christmas period.

Moss Bros’ preliminary results are due on March 27.

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