Moss Bros trading on track as online sales accelerate
Hire sales were 6.2% lower than the same period last year although the group said that this was in line with management expectations.
Total sales for the continuing business for the first 18 weeks picked up after a slow start to the half, rising 0.6% on last year. Like-for-like sales across the business edged up 0.3%.
In a statement the Moss Bros said: "The business continues to make good progress in tough market conditions, and although the Board is mindful of the macro-economic environment and its impact on consumer spending, it remains confident the business will meet market expectations for the year."
Following the launch of a new retail website platform in January, the group’s e-commerce sales increased sharply during the 18 week period, rising 138% on last year. Online sales now account for 3.3% of total sales compared to 1.4% for the same period last year. The group’s online traffic flow and conversion rates also improved.
Having launched a mobile enabled site in May, Moss Bros said plans to create a fully integrated omni-channel customer experience were progressing and that a new transactional site for its hire business would be launched in September.
The group revamped four stores in the period as part of an ongoing refit programme, bringing the total number of stores trading on the new format to twenty four out of a total portfolio of 136 stores. With the new format stores trading ahead of non-refitted stores, the group said they were on track to achieve their anticipated payback targets.
Moss Bros said the marketing review launched in February 2013 to provide insights into the group’s target market would enable it to prioritise and focus its marketing activities when it was completed. The group plans to appoint a marketing director to drive the activity forward.
Commenting on the outlook, Brian Brick, chief executive officer, said: "We are pleased that retail sales and margins have reverted to a positive trend after a difficult first seven weeks of the half. Hire sales are performing in line with management expectations, although like for likes are expected to be volatile throughout the rest of the year as the Hire business anniversaries against the unusual trading pattern seen during last summer’s sporting events.
"Although we remain cautious about the general economic environment we believe our strategy of refitting stores, investing in e-commerce infrastructure and focusing on our target market and customer offer will strengthen the Moss Bros brand and will maximise profitability. We are confident about our medium term growth prospects."
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