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£7.9m loss for retailer French Connection as woes continue

By Staff Reporter

French Connection has reported another loss, for the first half of the year, citing a "difficult retail environment".

The £7.9m loss, which mirrors last year's figure, came alongside an 8.7% fall in sales to £69.2m as the firm continued to close under-performing stores.

Northern Ireland's French Connection stores, which were run on a franchise model, were closed three years ago, although the label is still sold in some independent boutiques.

But like-for-like sales at its shops rose 6.5% over the first half, and boss Stephen Marks said: "Although the overall performance for the first half has been disappointing, the retail result has been particularly pleasing when compared to last year, in what has been a difficult retail environment.

"There is still much work to do in the rest of the year to move the business forward significantly, but we believe the team we have in place, and momentum we are seeing, will help us to achieve this."

French Connection said that its wholesale operation has been "much more challenging in both UK/Europe and especially in North America".

The group, which has clocked years of losses, has come under recent pressure from an activist investor, the US hedge fund Gatemore Capital Management, urging Mr Marks to give up his double role as chairman and chief executive and shake up the board.

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