Saturday 26 May 2018

Moss Bros sales still under pressure but stock woes easing

The suit retailer pinned the better numbers on the easing of supplier problems and stock shortages.

Moss Bros said sales picked up (Nick Ansell/PA)
Moss Bros said sales picked up (Nick Ansell/PA)

By Ravender Sembhy, Press Association City Editor

Suit retailer Moss Bros has said trading improved in the first quarter, despite booking another steep fall in sales.

The group – which has warned over profits twice since the start of the year – saw like-for-like sales tumble 5.2% in the 15 weeks to May 12. Total revenue was down 2.4%.

However, the figures represent an improvement on the run rate seen in March of declines of 6.5% and 4.4% respectively.

Moss Bros pinned the better numbers on the easing of supplier woes and stock shortages which have hampered trading since the end of last year.

The firm said: “The anticipated recovery in stock availability is on track and the stock position much improved from the early weeks of the current financial year.

“Retail sales, including e-commerce, have underpinned this improvement in performance.”

Earlier this year, the group sparked a shares crash after its last profit warning saw it warn that results would be “materially lower” than expected for the full year.

Moss Bros has also slashed its full-year dividend by 32% to 4p to ensure it can make future payments to shareholders.

Chief executive Brian Brick struck a wary tone as he looked towards the key wedding season trading period for the firm.

“Following a disappointing start to the year, our trading performance has, as anticipated, begun to improve, as a result of our improving stock availability. The wider trading environment, however, remains tough, with a fragile consumer environment.

“We remain conscious of the economic headwinds which we face.

“We will shortly enter a key period of our trading year, with wedding season, school proms and Ascot.

“We are well placed with our core offer and levels of stock availability to maximise our share of our customers’ spend.”

Press Association

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