French Connection plunges into the red as coronavirus fears escalate

French Connection trading update Stephen Marks coronavirus
// French Connection posts £2.9m loss for the year ending January 31
// The fashion retailer’s loss goes against a profit of £0.8m in the previous year

French Connection has reported a £2.9 million loss for the year ending January 31, and has remained uncertain about the current market condition due to the onslaught of the coronavirus outbreak.

The fashion retailer’s loss goes against a profit of £800,000 in the previous year.

Group revenues dropped 11.4 per cent to £119.9 million, with the retailer noting that store closures had accelerated this.

READ MORE: French Connection taken off market as sale fails

During the period, French Connection closed 11 “non-contributing” stores and three outlet locations.

It also closed its China and Hong Kong joint venture for the loss of £500,000.

Meanwhile, wholesale revenue in the UK dropped 4.8 per cent, though its US wholesale division saw sales rise by 15.7 per cent.

Like-for-like sales declined 2.5 per cent, as the retailer experienced worsened trading during the second half of the year.

“The performance this year has not been as anticipated and we are not being assisted by the continued difficult trading conditions in the UK and potential uncertainty due to the Covid-19 coronavirus,” French Connection chief executive Stephen Marks said.

“We believe the trading landscape in the UK is unlikely to improve in the short term and this has a potential impact on both the retail and wholesale businesses.

“Against this background we are working hard to ensure we are operating as efficiently and cost effectively as possible while working closely with all our trading partners to maximise business with them.”

In October 2018, French Connection announced it was considering selling the company, but earlier this year, the retailer said it was no longer searching for a buyer – effectively taking it off the market.

The fashion retailer said in January that it will put its efforts into its turnaround strategy, which is centred on sizing, its wholesale customers, investment in its online platform and a range of other cost saving measures.

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  1. Stop selling cheap tatt in cheap shops like Sports Direct and TJ Hughes. Drop the FCUK brand, it’s had its day and just looks tacky, stick to higher end to rejuvenate the brand.


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