Moss boss ousted after sales decline slashes profits

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The Independent Online

Moss Bros is to pay its former trading director David Pidgeon compensation for ousting him from its core menswear chain, Moss, after a collapse in sales, which caused its interim profits to halve.

Philip Mountford, the chief executive, is taking direct control of Moss, which he used to run before his promotion. The former director of Versace said he could get Moss "back on track" by Christmas.

"I have a really good understanding of the levers and drivers to turn this thing around," Mr Mountford said, adding that he had done it before. When he joined the company, Moss was losing £7m a year, but he restored it to profitability. Being forced to move out of its Stratford distribution centre to make way for the 2012 Olympic village also contributed to the group's disappointing interim performance. The move to its new site has cost it £1.8m, and it has received £1.6m of this back so far.

Pre-tax profits in the six months to the end of July collapsed to £800,000 from £1.7m the previous year on sales that were broadly flat at £63.3m.

Moss, which has 118 stores and contributes 60 per cent of the group's revenues, did badly because its ranges were too young and too fashionable, Mr Mountford said. He is restoring the focus on more formal lines.

Mr Pidgeon was at Moss Bros for six months.