The figuresThe high street formalwear store posted a £1.7m loss for the six months to July, after recording a £3.7m profit in the same period of the previous year.
Why it’s importantMoss Bros is the latest high street chain to feel the squeeze as shoppers ditch the high street in favour of ordering online.
French Connection yesterday fell to an operating loss of £5.5m, sending shares down despite eyeing profitability for the second half of the year. Moss Bros blamed hot weather, combined with “the distraction of England's success at the World Cup”, for a seven per cent drop in footfall, while the worst-affected stores saw 14 per cent fewer shoppers. The retailer claimed it would have made £2.7m more in sales had shoppers not been glued to their TV screens or in the park. It did point to success in the form of its “Tailor Me” service, which it has expanded to almost every store as shoppers opt to customise their suits. It opened two new stores despite the lack of footfall, and refitted three other outlets, to reach a total of 130 stores. Like-for-like sales were down 3.7 per cent in the seven weeks to 15 September, it said, seeing an improvement from summer’s “extreme reduction”, while online trade grew 23 per cent. It also pointed to positive responses to its autumn/winter range, despite a 13.3 per cent drop in hires early in the second half of the year. However, it warned that its full year operating profit would be "materially lower" than the current expectation of £2.3m.