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Profits soar 44% at Moss Bros

Pre-tax profits at menswear business Moss Bros climbed 44% to £2.8m in the 26 weeks to August 1.

Total sales were up 10% to £61.3m, while like-for-likes rose 9.7% on the same period last year. Like-for-like retail sales increased by 9.7% and like-for-like hire sales by 9.8%.  

Online sales continued to grow strongly, up 59% on last year and now representing 10% of total group revenue.

Retail gross margin was up 1.4% due to improved sell-through rates and more targeted promotional activity. Overall gross margin increased to 60.1% from 59.1% in the first half of 2014.

Eleven stores were modernised during the period. The company has 125 stores in total, 74 of which are new or have been recently refitted.  

Moss Bros is planning to test the market in the Middle East with two pilot franchise stores. The first is due to open later this year.

Trading in the eight weeks to September 26 has been “very encouraging”, with like-for-like sales up 10.4%.

Chief executive Brian Brick said: “The half year under review was another period of strong progress for the company.

“The early response to the autumn/winter retail range is positive, with like-for-like sales continuing to improve year on year. The group’s financial performance continues positively and in line with the board’s expectations for the outturn for the year.”

Finance director Robin Piggott will retire at the company’s AGM on May 20, 2016, after six years at the business. He will remain in his role until then to ensure a smooth transition. The search for his successor will begin shortly.

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