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
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • 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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Swiss Banking and Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - 6 month FTC - Central London

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...

Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application) - Agile

£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power