French Connection reports improved trading as it unveils plans to leave Regent Street store
French Connection has reported that like-for-like sales in the UK and Europe edged up 0.2% in the 16 weeks to 21 November as sales from its winter collection continued to be strong.
The increase compares to a decline of 6.1% in the corresponding period last year.
In addition, the gross margin achieved in the period grew by 1.5% on last year following an increase in the full price sales mix and improved input margins.
As part of the continued development of its licensing business, French Connection has been having ongoing discussions in a number of product categories and has recently extended its furniture licence with DFS for a further five years.
The retailer has also reported that it is continuing to look for opportunities to rationalise its store portfolio and now expects to close a further seven non-contributing stores during the second half of the year.
Due to the redevelopment of the building, French Connection will vacate its store in London’s Regent Street in March 2016, at which point it will receive a compensation payment of £2.4 million while also removing the ongoing trading losses of the store.
Stephen Marks, French Connection chairman and chief executive, said: "I am pleased to report that the performance of the Group has improved considerably compared to the first half of the year, particularly in the UK/Europe retail stores and while we still have the all-important Christmas period to come, we expect the results for the full year to be in line with market expectations."
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