Moss Bros seeks meeting with largest shareholder

Moss Bros yesterday admitted it was struggling to pin down its biggest shareholder, Kevin Stanford, for a meeting, as the menswear chain confirmed it had made its first interim profit in five years.

Moss Bros yesterday admitted it was struggling to pin down its biggest shareholder, Kevin Stanford, for a meeting, as the menswear chain confirmed it had made its first interim profit in five years.

Philip Mountford, the chief executive, said: "It has been difficult for us to track him down." Mr Stanford, the co-founder of Karen Millen, last week increased his interest in Moss Bros to more than 28 per cent. Most of his stake is held through the contracts for difference he acquired from fellow retail entrepreneur Shami Ahmed.

Mr Mountford said it would "be in everybody's best interests" if the company could meet its biggest shareholder. "I have absolutely no idea at all [what his intentions are]. No one knows what he wants. There is a lot of speculation," he added.

Shares in the suits specialist yesterday climbed 2p to 90p. They have almost doubled since January, buoyed by the retailer's turnaround and speculation that Mr Stanford is planning to bid for the group. In June, Mr Stanford made £11m when he sold the Karen Millen group to the Icelandic group Baugur. He has declined to comment on his plans for Moss Bros.

Mr Mountford's comments came as Moss Bros said it had returned to the black at the half-year stage for the first time in five years. In a trading update, it said its interim profits would be "not less than" £500,000 against losses of £1.8m the previous year.

Like-for-like sales at the group's three retail brands - Moss, Hugo Boss and Cecil Gee - climbed 8 per cent during the six months to 31 July, ahead of the group's expectations of a 5 to 6 per cent rise. Gross margins rose 1.5 percentage points.

The company said suit sales had surged 14 per cent during the period, reflecting a return to formal dressing in offices across the country. Its Moss-branded shops increased the amount of "quality branded suits at good prices" that they stock, Mr Mountford said, explaining the chain's 9 per cent underlying sales rise. After a difficult autumn, like-for-like sales rose 2 per cent at its Cecil Gee shops, while Hugo Boss reported a 14 per cent sales surge.

Mr Mountford said the strong start to the year meant he was "confident" the group would beat its 6 per cent underlying annual sales target and "hopeful" it would manage an 8 per cent rise.

Seymour Pierce, the brokerage, nudged its full-year pre-tax profit forecast up to £4.3m from £4m.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor