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Moss Bros narrows pre-tax losses

Menswear group Moss Bros narrowed its pre-tax losses from £3.9m to £2.7m in the year to January 29, as like-for-likes moved into positive territory.

Group like-for-likes sales grew 9.1% over the period, compared to a -0.4% slippage the year before. Those for its retail division increased 8.9%, whilst like-for-likes for its hire business grew 10.9%.

Total revenues grew 6% from £128.7m to £136.4m, and EBITDA rose from £3.2m to £3.8m.

However, losses before tax and after exceptional items rose to £7.5m from £6.6m the year before following a spate of redundancies, which reduced operational costs by £3m.

The Moss Bros retail business increased like-for-likes by 10.7% whilst the hire business achieved its highest ever sales, with like-for-likes up 10.9%.

The group said its nine Cecil Gee stores also proved “resilient” with a like-for-like sales increase of 6.4%.

Its 15 Hugo Boss UK franchise stores, which are being sold to Hugo Boss for £16.5m, saw a 6.1% increase in like-for-like sales over the period. The sale has been approved by shareholders and will be completed on Friday April 1.

The group said it expected to increase retail prices for 2011/12 as it “continued to monitor the impact on increased VAT”.

Chief executive officer Brian Brick said: We have made good progress on all of the operational priorities we set out at the beginning of the year and this has had a very positive impact on trading, despite the difficult trading environment last year. We continue to build clear strategic goals, an effective management team and a track record of delivering.”

He added: “Current trading reflects strong like-for-like growth and our continued focus on the operational priorities, with the support of our strong balance sheet, gives me great confidence that we will fully achieve the potential for this business.”

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