Moss Bros welcomes sales improvement despite continuing decline

Moss Bros Joules

Moss Bros has welcomed an improvement in trading in its first quarter, although the figures continue to be in negative territory.

The suit hire and menswear retailer – which has warned over profits twice since the start of the year – saw like-for-like sales drop 5.2 per cent in the 15 weeks to May 12.

However, the retailer said this figure was better than the 6.5 per cent decline recorded in the last trading update.

Total revenue also declined 2.4 per cent, but Moss Bros again said this was better than the previous quarter’s 4.4 per cent decline.

The high street chain said the better figures was a result of easing supplier woes and stock shortages that have had an adverse impact on trading since the end of last year.

“The anticipated recovery in stock availability is on track and the stock position much improved from the early weeks of the current financial year,” the retailer said.

“Retail sales, including e-commerce, have underpinned this improvement in performance.”

Earlier this year, Moss Bros sparked a shares crash after it warned that profits would be “materially lower” than expected for the full year.

The retailer has also cut back its full-year dividend by 32 per cent to 4p to ensure it can make future payments to shareholders.

“Following a disappointing start to the year, our trading performance has, as anticipated, begun to improve, as a result of our improving stock availability,” chief executive Brian Brick said.

“The wider trading environment, however, remains tough, with a fragile consumer environment.

“We remain conscious of the economic headwinds which we face.

“We will shortly enter a key period of our trading year, with wedding season, school proms and Ascot.

“We are well placed with our core offer and levels of stock availability to maximise our share of our customers’ spend.”

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