Autumn chill helps French Connection to reverse recent decline

 
Kasmira Jefford
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THE ONSET of Autumn has helped the struggling fashion retailer French Connection post an uptick in trading in the third quarter of the year, as shoppers stocked up on coats and knitwear.

The company, which has issued three profit warnings within the last 18 months, said like-for-like sales at its UK and European retail business were flat in the 16 weeks to 20 November. That compares to a 9.5 per cent slump in the first half of the year, when it swung to a £6.3m pre-tax loss.

The retailer recently completed a review of the business, pledging to focus on improving store operations, altering its product range and closing underperforming outlets. The group yesterday said changes it has made so far have “had a positive impact on the Autumn 2013 ranges”.

It said third quarter profit before tax was “broadly in-line” with expectations but said its performance was “as ever” dependent on Christmas and New Year.