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Moss Bros sets hire target

Moss Bros has set ambitious targets for its hire business after the division posted a 2.5% hike in like-for-like sales despite the difficult retail market.

Chief executive Philip Mountford said that Moss Bros has about 25% of the hire market, which is worth approximately £65 million a year, and that he believed the business could grow its share to around 40%.

He said that hire sales at its Moss stores had been boosted thanks to the roll-out of the new store environment, which is aimed at younger shoppers and features flatscreen TVs. Mountford said: “The number of weddings taking place is declining but at the same time the number of people that are going to weddings is increasing. Corporate events are falling but there is growth in the prom market.”

First half pre-tax losses widened at Moss Bros to £1.6m for the six months ended July 26. Group like-for-like sales were down 2.6% and total sales fell 2.9% to £61.1m. Sales were hit by the poor performance of the company’s outlet stores. The core Moss chain also suffered with like-for-likes falling 6.1% over the period. However, Mountford said that the revamped stores were running 5% ahead of the rest of the chain, with London Oxford Street ahead 20% like-for-like.

There is no capital expenditure spend planned for the second half, but Mountford said he planned to refurbish an additional 30 shops early next year.

First half figures

Group sales
-2.9% to £61.1m
Pre-tax losses £1.6m
Like-for-like sales for Moss fascia -6.1% Like-for-like sales at fashion fascias +0.4%
Like-for-like hire sales +2.5%

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