Menswear retailer Moss Bros has reported a 5.3% rise in like-for-like sales for the 19 weeks to December 7 as hire sales “stabilise” into the eveningwear season.
Like-for-like sales increased 2.2% for the 45 weeks to December 7 compared to the same period the year before. Total sales were up 1.8%.
Gross margins for the 19 weeks were down 70 basis points on last year due to hire sales accounting for a smaller proportion of total sales. The company said gross margin performance for the year will depend on the level of discounting in the critical sale period in the final six weeks of the financial year.
The expansion of the group’s ecommerce platform helped drive online sales by 194% in the 45 weeks to December 7. New retail websites for the Republic of Ireland, Sweden and Denmark were launched in the 19 weeks to December 7, and plans are in place to launch in Australia early next year.
So far this year Moss Bros has opened four new stores, closed seven and thirteen have been refitted as part of the group’s five year refit programme which it kicked off las year.
Moss Bros said the store refits had to led to an improvement in trading and plans are in place to refit a further twenty stores in 2014. The group currently trades from 133 stores.
Moss Bros expects to end the year with net cash of £26m compared to £25.7m on January 26 2013.
Moss Bros chief executive Brian Brick said: “We are encouraged by the trading momentum throughout the business which has continued into the second half of this year and we enter the important Christmas trading period in good shape. We continue to develop the business by leveraging the strength of our brands and our operational capabilities. The board remains confident in the outlook for the full year.”