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Moss Bros records £1.4m loss, like-for-likes flat

Moss Bros has slipped into to the red posting pre-tax losses of £1.4 million for the year ended January 26.

Moss Bros said that like-for-like sales were flat over the year but had moved slightly ahead in 2008 – 0.9% up for the nine weeks beginning January 26.

However the core Moss chain bore the brunt of the consumer fall out towards the second half of last year and like-for-like sales fell 3.2% over the year. However gross margin was up 50 basis points at the Moss chain. Moss Bros said it continued to reposition Moss away from the cut throat value end of the market.

The fashion division put in a more positive performance with like-for-like sales ahead 3.8% over the year but gross margin slipped back 40 basis points. Moss Bros said its fashion customers had been less affected by the macro economic conditions.

Meanwhile Moss Bros’ Hugo Boss franchise stores saw a like-for-like sales increase of 6.4% in 2007, while its Canali store achieved a 5.6% uplift.

Moss Bros said the results were in line with expectations and that they reflected “deteriorating retail markets”, particularly in menswear, and the continuing increases in property and utility costs. The company said it was taking steps to restructure the business to reflect the current economic situation and that it expected the current year to be “challenging”. It has already rejigged its management structure.

Moss Bros said it was continuing talks with investment firm Baugur, which made an indicative offer of £40 million for the menswear chain earlier this year.

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