Tuesday 12 October 2021 7:40 am

French Connection boss steps down as group recovers from Covid

French Connection’s chief executive Stephen Marks will retire from the global retailer, as the company recovers from Covid-19.

Commenting on the six-month results, he said: “This is an appropriate time for me to step back from the business that I founded in 1972, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our people for their contribution to our achievements over the years.”

The results – covering the period ending on 31 July 2021 – highlighted that, despite losses, the group is on its way to recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

While French Connection’s revenue – £40.2m – was down 21.2 per cent as a result of the pandemic, the underlying loss stationed at £0.9m, compared with the £3.6m registered in 2019.

The composite gross margin was of 31.6 per cent due to a shift towards lower margin wholesale and the level of fixed product development and logistic costs.

“Wholesale in both the UK and the US has performed well, with a good outcome to the Summer season coupled with encouraging order books for the Winter collections,” said Marks.

“We achieved a stronger trading performance following the re-opening of stores in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the post-lockdown periods of 2020 and have additionally seen the benefit of the closure of several non-contributing stores over the last 18 months.”

Marks announced on 4 October that the company’s board had accepted MIP Holding’s offer to buy French Connection at 30p per share, recommending all shareholders to accept the offer. The retailer initially launched a sale process in March 2021.