French Connection upbeat as losses narrow
High street fashion retailer French Connection has said it is coming close to returning to profitability after making a full year underlying operating of loss of £0.6 million compared to a £3.7 million loss in the previous year.
In the 12 months to 31 January, group revenues were up 0.5% to £154 million compared to the prior year’s fall of 6.7%.
The retailer’s pre-tax loss, inclusive of store disposals, closures and other professional fees, was £2.3 million compared to £5.3 million previously.
Stephen Marks, chairman and chief executive of French Connection, said: "We have made considerable progress across the group over the last year and I enter the new financial year with renewed confidence off the back of that success. Our goal has been to return the group to profitability and I believe we are very close to achieving that aim, given the momentum that we are currently seeing within the business. “
Retail revenue for the year decreased by 5.5% to £83.1 million after the retailer closed eleven non-contributing locations and opened one new store and two concessions. Average store selling space was reduced by 10% over the period.
On a like-for-like basis, sales in UK and Europe grew by 0.8%. Online revenue rose by 3.1% to account for 29.7% of total group retail sales.
Meanwhile, wholesale revenue was up 8.6%.
Marks added: “While it is clear that the retail market in which we are operating in the UK is unlikely to improve in the near future, we have clear visibility on the benefits we will obtain from the ongoing portfolio rationalisation. In addition, the reaction to our collections and strength of our wholesale orders both for the spring and winter seasons further underpins the performance going forward. Although we are only early into the year, I believe we are in a very strong position to make significant progress again."
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