Belfast Telegraph

Drop in shares at fashion retailer French Connection

By Roger Baird

Shares in French Connection have fallen sharply as investors expressed concern at the pace of turnaround at the fashion retailer.

The chain, which has around 120 stores and concession outlets in the UK and Europe but has withdrawn from Northern Ireland, said like-for-like sales at its UK and European stores slipped 3% in the year to the end of January, due to disappointing second-half trading which included unseasonally warm weather.

Operating losses for the year were cut to £800,000 from £4.4m a year earlier and £7.2m in 2013 as French Connection took another step towards profitability.

However, losses from the retail estate remained high at £11.3m as tough conditions on the high street offset stronger trading in wholesale and licensing channels. Shares fell by as much as 11%.

Founder Stephen Marks, who is the company's chairman and chief executive, has closed under-performing stores and grown the online business.

Belfast Telegraph