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Moss Bros sales rise despite 'much tougher' market

Sales at Moss Bros for the 15 weeks to 13 May increased 3.7%, driven by a strong online performance.

Total like-for-like sales were up 2.3% for the period, while like-for-like retail sales were up 5.5%.

Like-for-like hire sales on a cash taken basis were down 14.2% as expected, as a result of the reduced value of the deposit taken from customers when an order is first placed.

Hire order numbers booked during the period were down 3.8% year on year, and the total value was 1.6% lower.

Retail gross margins were 50 basis points below the previous year, following the reintroduction of a mid-season Sale in April. The menswear business said the trading environment was “much tougher” than last year.

Online sales were up 14.7% on last year and made up 11.6% of total sales for the 15 weeks compared with 10.7% for the same period last year.

A further three stores have been refitted and two new stores have opened so far this year, bringing the total number of units trading in the new format to 101 out of a total portfolio of 129.

The business said it was “confident” that it will meet market expectations for the year.

Brian Brick, chief executive, said: “We are pleased with our progress, and Moss Bros continues to trade well and in line with the board’s expectations, despite the continuing tough trading environment and a highly competitive marketplace, which has seen significantly more markdown activity than the same period last year. Retail and ecommerce sales have shown further improvement against this backdrop.

“We continue to be acutely aware of the economic headwinds we will face for the remainder of the financial year, as input cost increases come into effect. We are also mindful that zero real wage growth will impact on consumer confidence. We will remain agile in our response to these market conditions.”

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