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Moss Bros sales improve in fourth quarter

Men’s formalwear retailer Moss Bros has reported improved trading in the first ten weeks of its fourth quarter with total sales up 3.8% year-on year.

FASHION

Moss Bros sales improve in fourth quarter

Men’s formalwear retailer Moss Bros has reported improved trading in the first ten weeks of its fourth quarter with total sales up 3.8% year-on year.

In a statement covering trading in the 23 weeks to 5 January, the company said total sales were 0.6% ahead of the same period in the previous year but down 1% on a like-for-like basis.

Moss Bros said it was continuing to make progress in a “tough” marketplace and had now resolved all of the stock shortages that had been caused by temporary supply chain issues in its first quarter. However, the company also said that some of its high-profile retail locations had underperformed due to reduced footfall and that it had needed to offer deeper discounts than expected post Black Friday as it looked to remain competitive.

Brian Brick, Moss Bros chief executive, said: "As I noted at the time of our interim results in September, we had already seen more intensive discounting from our competitors and this has continued throughout the period. Having originally sought to resist discounting pressures, we too have found the need to adopt a more tactical, discount-led pricing stance across all retail channels. Whilst this proved successful in delivering top line sales growth, there has been an expected negative impact on gross margin rates, which ensured that the group managed the level of terminal stock.”

Total retail sales accounted for 91% of revenue during the 23-week period and were up 0.1% on a like-for-like basis.

Meanwhile, like-for-like hire sales were down 11.2% in the 23 weeks although the decline improved to 8.5% in the first ten weeks of the retailer’s fourth quarter,

Looking ahead, Brick said: “Despite the improving trend in performance, we anticipate the period ahead will continue to be extremely challenging, as a result of the uncertain consumer environment, wider political backdrop and the significant cost headwinds that we continue to face from a weaker pound and further increases in business rates and employee related costs.

“We do however see the weaker environment as an opportunity to enhance our specialist market position and strengthen our core brand proposition, so we retain a sustainable point of differentiation.”

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