Belfast Telegraph

Moss Bros posts profits boost after smartening up its look

Menswear chain Moss Bros has notched up a 30% rise in half-year profits as its smartened up its stores and boosted online sales.

The group posted pre-tax profits of £3.7 million for the six months to the end of July, up from £2.8 million a year earlier, after seeing a 5.3% hike in like-for-like retail sales.

Moss Bros said its store revamp had been "well-received" by customers and was helped drive the rise in sales, with another seven stores refitted in the first half, taking its total under the refurbishment so far to 89 out of 125.

It also saw a 7.7% rise in online retail sales as it continues to improve its websites, including the recent introduction of an online hire service.

Hire sales - which account for around 15% of total sales - rose 2.8% on a same store basis in the half-year as it introduced lounge suits to its range.

Recent trading has also been robust, with the group posting a 3.7% rise in overall like-for-like sales for the eight weeks to September 24, against a 4.9% increase in the half-year.

Brian Brick, chief executive of Moss Bros, said the group saw "strong progress" in the first half.

He added: "We have ensured that our customer offer is more clearly defined and more closely aligned with our target customer groups.

"Alongside this, the significant ongoing store refit programme, which will be substantially complete by the end of this financial year, has continued to steadily build equity in the Moss Bros brand."

Mr Brick also cheered the performance of the group's bespoke tailoring service, which launched in the first half.

Tailor Me, which offers custom-made suits ready for collection within 30 days, has now been rolled out to most of the Moss Bros store chain.

The group said its profit margins were also boosted as it scrapped its mid-season sale, switching instead to more targeted promotions.

Retail experts at Peel Hunt said Moss Bros had made a "solid start" to its financial year.

They added: "Moss continues to outperform a fairly soggy High Street and apparel market."