Moss Bros sales edge up despite hire unit woes

MEN’S formalwear specialist Moss Bros, yesterday said total sales had edged up slightly despite a sharp drop in sales in its suit hire division.

For the 18 weeks to 1 June, it said total sales were up 0.6 per cent compared to the same period a year ago, while like-for-like sales were up 0.3 per cent. However, sales in its hire division dropped by 6.2 per cent year-on-year.

Chief executive Brian Brick said the drop was expected, and blamed the sharp fall on its comparison to last year, when he said trading was volatile due to the Olympics.

“Last year was a very odd year for hire because a lot of people tried to avoid the peak period for hire, when the Olympics were taking place – people had weddings earlier or later to avoid that peak time,” he told City A.M.

The firm’s strongest performance was in online sales, following the launch of its new retail platform in January. It said ecommerce sales were up 138 per cent on a year ago. Online sales now comprise 3.3 per cent of total sales, up from 1.4 per cent for the same period last year.

Brick said he was confident about its prospects for growth. “Although we remain cautious about the general economic environment we believe our strategy of refitting stores, investing in e-commerce infrastructure and focusing on our target market...will maximise profitability.”