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Moss Bros sales soar

Moss Bros, the menswear group, said sales soared in the 15 weeks to May 14 but remained cautious for the year ahead as consumer spending remains volatile.

Total sales for the continuing business at Moss Bros, which has kicked off a refreshed store trial and offloaded its Hugo Boss franchise, were up 12.9% on last year during the 15 weeks. Like-for-likes rose 8.2% during the period. The retailer said that the business was up against tough comparatives during the period and for the remainder of the year.

Like-for-like gross profit was 9.8% ahead of last year.

The retailer, which disposed of its 15 Hugo Boss franchise stores on April 1 and has kicked off a cost savings programme in the second half of the 2010/2011 year, is delivering savings as planned.

Moss Bros received £5.1m cash following the disposal of the 15 Hugo Boss stores. A further £12.3m will be received when the store leases are assigned back to Hugo Boss. With the proceeds the business will not need to renew its £5m banking facility and will trade “debt-free”.

Moss Bros said that it continued to trade in line with market expectations.

Moss Bros opened its first refreshed Moss store in Canary Wharf earlier this month within budget. It is the first of its stores to house all three elements of its offer – Hire, Retail and Bespoke. Part of a trial, Moss Bros will decide whether to roll it out if successful.

Chief executive Brian Brick said the business remained cautious of the macro-economic environment but confident of the group’s medium-term prospects.

He said: “We are pleased with the sales momentum which has continued into this year and the control on margins, helped by the decision not to go on mid-season Sale this year. There is no doubt that we are benefiting from strengthening our product offer. 

 “The selective refurbishment of our stores and a more simple business model will enable us to focus on the strengths of the core Moss brand. Although we remain cautious about the economic environment, we have a strong foundation from which to build and develop further our product offer, upgrade the standards of presentation of our stores and continue to improve our customers’ experience.  We remain confident about our medium term growth prospects”.

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