Moss Bros is looking smart, shrugging off high street woes that have claimed casualties including rival Austin Reed.
Total sales at Moss Bros rose 3.3 per cent in the 15 weeks to 14 May, while like-for-likes were up five per cent.
The suit group's retail sales, including ecommerce, climbed 5.1 per cent in the period, while hire sales were up 4.7 per cent. Online sales were up 9.7 per cent, and now make up 10.7 per cent of total sales, compared with 10 per cent at this point last year.
Gross margins have jumped 470 basis points, which Moss Bros put down to the decision not to run a mid-season sale. Like for like retail gross profit increased by 13.9% on last year, in cash terms.
The board – which will hold Moss Bros' AGM later today – said it was confident that the business will meet market expectations for the year.
It will announce its interim results on 28 September.
Why it's interesting
Moss Bros has been struggling in recent years, but while rivals such as Austin Reed have fallen by the wayside, green shoots are appearing.
The business is continuing to improve stores, with an extra three being refurbished during the period. On top of that one store was opened in the first 15 weeks of the year, meaning Moss Bros now has 85 stores trading in the new format, out of a total portfolio of 124. This has been critical to driving growth, with new format stores trading ahead of non-refitted stores.
What Moss Bros said
Chief executive Brian Brick said: "We are pleased with our progress. Retail sales and margins have shown further improvement, boosted by the ongoing improvement in our customer offer and the improvement in our store and online environments.
"The strength of our core offer meant that we were able to trade through the period without running a mid-season sale, which significantly enhanced gross margins in the period. Hire sales continue to show improvement and e-commerce sales in the first 15 weeks of the year have also grown, reflecting our investment in systems and infrastructure. This has been another good period of progress for Moss Bros and we remain confident about our growth prospects."
Moss Bros is looking well dressed for success.