Internet sales suit Moss Bros as revenues rise

SUIT-seller Moss Bros yesterday posted a 1.7 per cent rise in like-for-like sales as it pushes on with an expansion online.

The firm said revenues rose 1.2 per cent to £53.3m for the half-year to 26 July, while profits were broadly flat at £2.23m.

Internet sales jumped 164 per cent, though finance director Robin Piggott declined to give financial figures for its web portal.

“Do suits sell online? Yes, they definitely do. Sales proportions are the same online as off. There are no barriers selling online,” Piggott told City A.M. yesterday.

He noted that due to “accelerated online growth” the firm will be launching websites in the upcoming months, including Australia and Denmark and in France and Germany after December.

Moss Bros hiked its interim dividend from 0.2p to 0.3p per share.

Despite total sales increases, like-for-like hire revenues dropped 7.2 per cent and gross margins dropped almost four percentage points.

Piggott believes the decrease was caused by a fall in weddings.

“The shortfall is in weddings, not hire in general. That number is a bit of a blip.”

Moss Bros is currently looking at 20 towns to open new stores.

Peel Hunt analyst John Stevenson, who has a buy rating on the stock, said the firm’s “self-help initiatives such as online development, direct sourcing, store refurbs and a new marketing strategy all underpin future sales and profit growth”.