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French Connection reports 'disappointing' first half

Fashion retailer French Connection has reported a pre-tax loss of £7.9 million in the six months to 31 July which was the same as in the corresponding period a year earlier.


French Connection reports 'disappointing' first half

In a statement, the company said an improved retail performance was offset by tougher trading in wholesale and licensing.

Group revenue was £69.2 million compared to £75.8 million a year earlier as the retailer traded from a reduced retail store portfolio, with five non-contributing stores closed during the period.

The retail improvement was driven by strong a like-for-like performance with sales in UK/Europe stores up 6.5%. Overall revenue was down 2.3% on a square footage reduction of 15.8%.

Online revenue increased to represent 26.5% of group retail revenue with mobile and tablet sales making up 50%.

Stephen Marks, French Connection chairman and chief executive, said: "Although the overall performance for the first half has been disappointing, the retail result has been particularly pleasing when compared to last year in what has been a difficult retail environment.

“Performance in wholesale and licensing has been more challenging but we have started to see an improvement recently and expect to see a recovery in the second half.”

The company said the initial performance of the Winter 16 collection has been encouraging and that it has continued to see the positive retail like-for-like performance experienced in the first half.

Marks added: “There is still much work to do in the rest of the year to move the business forward significantly but we believe the team we have in place and momentum we are seeing will help us to achieve this. As ever, the overall result will be dependent on the Christmas trading period but the second half of the year has started well."


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