Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Moss Bros has fashion X Factor

Menswear retailer Moss Bros has reported better-than-expected Christmas trading after seeing younger customers smarten up for the party season.

A trend towards black-tie outfits, as seen on talent show X Factor, has benefited the chain, which saw like-for-like sales grow 2.7% in the 24 weeks to January 12.

Its shares have doubled in the past year and were up by another 2% yesterday after the company said profits for the year to the end of January were now expected to exceed City forecasts.

Moss has also benefited from careful management of discounts over Christmas and tight control of costs.

Chief executive Brian Brick highlighted particularly strong demand from younger customers, who are buying more dress wear outfits in order to keep up with changing fashions in music culture.

"We are definitely benefiting from bands dressing smarter," he noted.

Cheaper raw materials have also alleviated pressure on the group, which is part way through a strategic plan to turnaround and grow the business.

The upbeat outlook goes against the trend of high street retailers struggling to keep afloat under difficult economic conditions.

However, Mr Brick cautioned that Moss Bros still operates under a fragile trading environment as consumers continue to feel the pinch.

To help tempt them, the retailer expects to refit a further 25 stores this year under a five-year plan that will see it transform 90 of its 136 outlets.

Plans to focus more on its core business saw the firm sell its Cecil Gee and Hugo Boss stores in 2011.

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