Profit back at ailing French Connection

FRENCH Connection bounced back into profit yesterday after cost-cutting measures were taken to breathe new life into the business.

The group saw a slim half-year profit of £200,000 compared with losses of £5.4m over the same period last year.

French Connection is closing loss-making stores in the US alongside the closure of its Japanese business and some European retail outlets to get the business back in line.

The company has also offloaded its loss-making Nicole Farhi brand.

Turnover rose by four per cent to £96.2m in the six months to July.

French Connection shares jumped seven per cent to 47p after the improved figures were announced.

Founder Stephen Marks has said the fashion brand, which was a hit until its FCUK brand lost its appeal, appeared to be “back on track”.

Turnover rose four per cent to £96m including a three per cent rise in like-for-like sales in Britain and Europe, driven by growth in menswear and e-commerce.

“The like-for-like sales performance in our retail stores in the early weeks of the new season has shown a decline making us more cautious about our outlook for the second half,” the retailer said.
It added: “However our wholesale forward orders are ahead of this time last year and we expect to be able to maintain the stronger gross margins achieved recently.”