Moss Bros back in black as City upturn lifts profits
Saturday 29 May 2004
The return of confidence in the City and financial markets has led to an increased demand for quality-branded suits, helping to lift sales at the once-struggling Moss Bros.
The menswear retailer, which also owns Cecil Gee and Hugo Boss, yesterday said it would return to profit in the first half of its current financial year - the first time since 2000. Like-for-like sales climbed 9 per cent in the past 16 weeks and the group's gross margin improved by one percentage point.
Philip Mountford, the chief executive, said: "It is not just the business sector that is buying suits, lots of young television presenters are wearing more formal clothes and that is having a knock-on effect in what would be our fashion sales."
He has spearheaded a turnaround of the business after sales began to falter, and has streamlined and refocused the company on its three core brands.
The performance of Moss Bros is in marked contrast to other high street retailers, which are seeing sluggish sales amid a slowdown in consumer spending. Mr Mountford said: "It is not easy out there on the high street. You only have to look at the sales numbers of other retailers, such as Austin Reed and Marks & Spencer. Even Next reported like-for-likes of only 3 per cent. But even our casualwear is seeing an upturn and we have no concerns about the trading environment or consumer spending."
He expects sales to continue to grow through the rest of the year, but at more moderate levels of about 5 to 6 per cent on a like-for-like basis. Analysts are expecting pre-tax profits of up to £4m for the year to end of January. Moss Bros shares closed up 3.5p to 73.5p.
Analysts at Seymour Pierce believe it is the Moss Bros brand that is driving sales, but said the turnaround in the performance of the group was impressive. Rhys Williams, a retail and textiles analyst at the broker, said: "It is pleasing to see that despite the difficult high street, Moss Bros has continued to produce strong growth."
The company is the subject of repeated takeover speculation. Mr Mountford said yesterday that he was not in contact with Shami Ahmed, the entrepreneur with a 22 per cent stake in Moss Bros, who is rumoured to be interested in mounting a takeover bid for the group.
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 5 The most powerful passports in the world
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
Nepal earthquake: The race is on to help thousands trapped under rubble around Kathmandu, while remote villages face a long wait for help
Royal baby: Live updates as superbug closes ward at St Mary's Hospital where Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth
Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
iJobs Money & Business
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...