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Sales up at Moss Bros

Moss Bros has reported a 1.2% rise in total sales for the six months to July 27, as the “abnormally cold” and wet weather in February and March was replaced by more seasonal conditions.

Group like-for-like sales were level compared to last year at the men’s formalwear business, while retail sales were up 1.7% on 2012 to £44m.

Online sales were up 164% from last year due to the launch of the company’s new retail website, which launched in January. The addition of a mobile enabled site in May contributed 8% to total internet sales. A transactional Hire website is also planned to go live in November.

However, like-for-like hire sales dropped 7.2% to £9,262. The business expects an improvement in the division in the second half of the year as eveningwear hires increase in the run up to Christmas.

The group’s operating profit was up 5.4% to £2.2m while EBITDA improved to £4.4m compared to the same period last year.

Four Moss Bros stores were refitted in the first half of the year, with another 10 stores to be completed before the end of 2013. The company opened one new store and closed two loss making shops, taking its total store count to 133.

Trading in the eight weeks to September 21 has been “encouraging” with like-for-like sales up 4.9% on last year.

Brian Brick, chief executive of Moss Bros, said: “The early response to the autumn range is positive, with like-for-like sales continuing to improve year on year and gross margins showing an improving trend against the prior year, as we move out of the summer clearance activity.”

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