Moss Bros’ hire business drags half-year sales

Moss Bros Brian Brick
Moss Bros said it expects to deliver full-year results in line with expectations
// Moss Bros half-year revenue up 1.4% to £65.4m
// Pre-tax losses widened to £2.7m compared with £1.7m the previous year
// Online sales jumped 20% year-on-year

Moss Bros has recorded an uplift in overall revenue despite flat underlying profits at the half-year mark thanks to a decline in hire sales.

In the 26 weeks ended July 27, the menswear retailer’s pre-tax losses widened to £2.7 million, compared with £1.7 million the previous year.

Revenue increased 1.4 per cent year-on-year to £65.4 million in the period, as store like-for-like sales increased 0.6 per cent and overall like-for-likes rose 2.9 per cent.

Online sales jumped 20 per cent year-on-year and now account for 15 per cent of overall sales.


Meanwhile, hire sales – which accounted for 10.7 per cent of sales during the half – fell 14.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis, while gross margin declined 0.7 per cent to 55.8 per cent.

Moss Bros now expects to deliver full-year results in line with expectations.

It cut its dividend payments in order “to give the business maximum flexibility for investment, whilst retaining a strong debt free balance sheet”.

“Reflecting on our first half performance, it feels that we are gaining traction in a number of areas,” Moss Bros chief executive Brian Brick said.

“The growth which we have seen in stores is set against a backdrop of lower footfall in our stores than last year in most locations in which we operate.

“Our conversations with our landlords are active and ongoing to ensure that we can align our store occupancy costs with the lower footfall which we experience, whilst continuing to offer store-centric services such as Tailor Me, our custom made suiting proposition, which continues to go from strength to strength.”

Brick said the retailer was aware of the challenges it faces in regards to its hire business, and plans to invest in a focused way in updated product to ensure it remains relevant in its product offering.

“We are also actively investigating what newer and fresher hire or rental services can be offered to address changing customer requirements as soon as spring next year, whilst ensuring that we maintain our market leading position for customers not simply wishing to purchase their formalwear outright,” he said.

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