Moss Bros' share price jumps as suit-seller says it's scrubbing up well

Oliver Gill
Follow Oliver
Moss Bros has strengthened its range and introduced a new bespoke alteration service (Source: Moss Bros)

Shares in suit hire specialist and retailer Moss Bros rose by as much as eight per cent in early trading after a revamp of its stores and a sharper range of products helped deliver a 23 per cent increase in profits.

Like-for-like sales rose by 8.2 per cent to £119m for the 52 weeks to 31 January 2016, with underlying pre-tax profits broadly in line with expectations at £5.9m.

Retail sales were up by 7.6 per cent while like-for-like hire sales increased by 11.7 per cent in the year, thanks to the recovery in wedding hire in the year. Chairman Debbie Hewitt said the results indicated “another year of strong progress for the group”.

Moss Bros said a revamp of its stores had helped boost the level of full price sales and gross margins, with 81 shops now trading under its new, smarter format. The company also consolidated its own brands under three labels – Moss London, Moss Esq. and Moss 1851 – in 2014, which it said had also helped strengthen its offer.

The company's new bespoke service Tailor Me, which allows customers to buy suits and make bespoke alterations for an extra £100, will be rolled out across its entire estate this year.

Hewitt added: “We remained focused on our core offer and the strengthening of our product range and traded our way through what was for us and most retailers a significant shift in consumer buying patterns, including a stronger emphasis online.”

Results for the first nine weeks of the new financial year were also upbeat, with like-for-like sales up 5.2 per cent on the same time period last year. “The early response to the 2016 Spring/Summer retail range has been positive and retail like-for-like sales and gross margins are continuing to improve year on year,” said chief executive Brian Brick.