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French Connection bolsters board after losses widen

  • French Connection makes a pre-tax loss of £3.5m as sales fall 8%
  • Former Next group product director Christos Angelides joins as non-executive director
  • Asos’s Lee Williams to join as group finance director in April

French Connection made a pre-tax loss of £3.5m for the year to January 31, following “disappointing trading” during the first half. Its losses have increased from £1.6m the year before.

French connection web 14 march

Group revenues fell 8% to £164.2m last year as the company closed 13 non-contributing stores.

However, French Connection said there had been a “significant improvement in trading” in the second half of 2015. This has continued into the first six weeks of the new financial year.

Chairman and chief executive Stephen Marks said: “Overall the performance for the year has been disappointing due to the very poor first half but the improvement we have seen during the second half and into the new financial year shows that we are definitely moving in the right direction.

“The reaction to this year’s collections has been strong so far, showing that we are on track. We are early in the year and have a considerable amount of work to do to take the group back to profitability, although I believe that the actions we have taken to date will go a long way to taking us there.”

Also today, French Connection announced the appointment of former Next group product director Christos Angelides as an independent non-executive director, and revealed it has poached a new group finance director from Asos.com.

Lee Williams, who has been finance director at Asos for the past 15 months, will join French Connection on April 4, filling a vacant position.

Before joining Asos he was CFO of Worldstores, and head of financial planning and analysis at Brighthouse Group. He spent most of his early career at Morrisons and Kingfisher in various senior finance roles.

Angelides spent most of his career at Next in a series of senior management roles, including the last 14 years on the main board as group product director. He left in October 2014 to become president of Abercrombie & Fitch in the US. However, as previously reported by Drapers, he left that role in December 2015.

As well as being a non-executive director, he will join French Connection’s audit and remuneration committees.

French Connection’s composite gross margin declined from 46.7% to 46.3%, reflecting the higher amount of wholesale sales in the mix.

Licensing income rose from £7.3m from £6.5m the year before.

At the close it had net cash of £14m and no debt.

Readers' comments (1)

  • You see more of the brand in TK Maxx than anywhere, therefore the image is a poor as the design and quality of the clothes. Sadly, It will take a long time to turn this ship around.

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