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Moss Bros issues price hike warning

Menswear retailer Moss Bros has warned it will be forced to increase its prices as it battles against the sharp rise in cotton prices and a likely hike in VAT.

The menswear group, which last week posted a like-for-like sales increase of 12.6% for the 16 weeks to May 22, said that, similar to other retailers, it would be reviewing its prices for next year.

Moss Bros chief executive Brian Brick told Drapers: “In terms of pricing, things are pushing against us. There’s the potential VAT rise and the increase in raw materials prices. We’ll have no choice but to put prices up moving into next year.”

This year the group is opening a chain of stores selling made-to-measure suits costing up to £350 to steal share from traditional tailors.

Moss Bros Bespoke, which aims to offer the cheapest made-to-measure suits on the market, will launch its first store in the City of London this month and the concept is expected to roll out across the UK through a network of standalones and department store concessions.

Moss Bros saw gross profit margin for the period fall 2.7% against last year, but this was budgeted for. However, the retailer said its “strong sales performance lifted total gross profit ahead of last year”.

Brick said one of the biggest challenges to the group, which includes the Moss chain and Hugo Boss stores, had been the recent volcanic ash cloud, which had impacted tourist trade in London.

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