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SRG banks on 2008 recovery

Menswear company Speciality Retail Group will open five new stores next year under the Suits You fascia as it battles through its recovery plan.
SRG issued its first full-year figures under the ownership of Gresham Private Equity last week. The company recorded a 7% dip in gross profit to £36.7 million, while sales slipped 10% to £65.4m for the year to January 2007. It did not disclose other profit figures and full accounts were not available as Drapers went to press.

Chief executive Steve Gipson said the main priority next year was the Suits You chain and the Racing Green business, which will focus on mail order. He said trading in 2008 would be difficult for retailers. “All the indications suggest sales will be very hard to come by,” he said.
Gipson added that he was optimistic about Christmas, but said spend remained depressed. “People are very canny and they shop later until retailers lose their nerve,” he said.

Suits You is already on Sale, but Gipson said this was part of SRG’s normal business strategy.

However, Suits You is likely to up its positioning next autumn. Gipson said it was “developing its offer” for the end of 2008 but did not reveal details.

 Menswear rival Moss Bros said full-year profits were unlikely to meet market expectations after like-for-like sales fell 1.5% for the 18 weeks to December 1.

Chief executive Philip Mountford said: “Our refurbished stores have seen an uplift of 6% and almost half the shops will be done by the middle of next year. We are also focusing on the premium end of our offer”.

He acknowledged that the hire business had been hit by lower-price offers from supermarkets and fashion retailers.

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