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Shares of Moss Bros soared to an eight-year high in London trading after the suit hire and retailer unexpectedly said it will boost its dividend.

Feelgood factor eludes retailers

The feelgood factor looked as elusive as ever on the high street yesterday when two clothing retailers, Etam and Austin Reed, reported sharply reduced profits while the Wickes DIY group warned that its first- half profits would fall "significantly below" last year's pounds 9m. The company blamed the poor winter weather and the lack of improvement in the housing market.

Uncertain market for Smurfit

The Investment Column

out there; Alix Sharkey invited 500 friends to enter his own Palace of Wisdom

John Walsh: a stranger in the Palace

Retail fighter returns to claim the shop shop

John Shannon says he is not acting out of revenge. Whatever the case, the 45-year-old former Midlands engineer is in the throes of one of the most intriguing takeovers in the City.

Moss Bros still looking good

INVESTMENT COLUMN

THE WEEK AHEAD: Business

TODAY

BAe gains height on GEC takeover talk

British Aerospace is intriguing the stock market. On a dull, featureless day the shares climbed 14p to 513p as stories continued to circulate about the predatory ambitions of GEC.

Stylish figures from Moss Bros

BY NIGEL COPE

SHARES : THE WEEK AHEAD

Monday STATISTICS: March producer prices, UK economic accounts (Q4). INTERIMS: Halstead (James) Group. FINALS: Amey, Bilton, British Dredging, Eurotunnel, Greenacre Group, Moss Bros Group, Olives Property.

Moss Bros cuts a fine interim figure

Moss Bros, the menswear group, pleased the market with trebled interim profits, a doubled dividend, and an announcement that the second half had started brightly.

Business Information Service: This Week

Monday No economic statistics scheduled. Interims: Cullen's Holdings, Dunlop Plantations, Moss Bros, Norsk Hydro (third quarter), John Swire & Sons.

Moss Bros suits City with strong advance: Share price jumps as sales boost leads to 77% gain

MEN are buying suits again, judging by results from Moss Bros, which yesterday reported that its sales, profits and market share had all risen sharply last year.

Pembroke: Motor dealer Cowie is back behind the wheel

Sir Tom Cowie, the larger-than-life motor dealer, has returned to the fray. Sir Tom, who retired from T Cowie in December after more than 40 years at the helm, has resurfaced as a non-executive director of European Motor Holdings, the car dealer run by Richard Palmer.

Bomb bargains, a boost to the dividend and business as usual as Moss Bros plays its City suit

Moss Bros reopened its Suit Co and Savoy Taylors Guild shops in the City yesterday despite the bomb damage. It lifted its dividend for the first time in three years, from 5p to 51 2 p. Pre-tax profits grew 74 per cent to pounds 2.3m in the year to 30 January. After stripping out new stores, sales were up 5.5 per cent, with the Cecil Gee stores producing the fastest sales growth. The group has accumulated a cash pile of pounds 14m. Photograph: Brian Harris
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