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Franchise boost at French Connection

French Connection franchisees have reported mixed sales this summer, but the market is predicting group performance will be up against last year ahead of next week's interim results.

Franchise store sales figures seen by Drapers this week span a wide differential, from at worst down 13% like-for-like and at best up 19% like-for-like. However, like-for-like performance at the company-owned stores is understood to be up.

Analysts expected to see improved trading when the group reports on September 11, but warned that wholesale sales could lag. Pali International analyst Nick Bubb said: "House of Fraser is an important customer for French Connection and it is hard to say how changes there will have affected the ordering cycle."

French Connection reported a 67% crash in pre-tax profits to £4 million for the year to January 31. However, there were signs of recovery at the start of this spring, with like-for-likes up 10%.

Northern Ireland franchisee Julian Jordan, said: "Despite the poor summer weather we are having a very productive autumn season so far. The new collection is selling pretty well."

Jersey franchisee Richard Clews added: Over the past seven months we have seen a 15% rise on womenswear."

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