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Moss Bros sales rise but hire division remains a disappointment

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Wednesday 15 May 2019

Moss Bros sales rise but hire division remains a disappointment

(Sharecast News) - Menswear retailer Moss Bros posted a small increase in total sales for the first 15 weeks of the year on Wednesday but a dip in like-for-like sales, as it said the performance of the hire division remains disappointing.
Total sales were up 1.5% on last year, while total LFL sales were 0.2% lower than the same period a year ago. Moss Bros said that despite the "tough" trading environment, its overall performance has continued to show an improvement on the prior year, with both full price retail store sales and e-commerce delivering positive progress on last year.

The hire division continues to be challenging, however, although the group said this reflects a continued switch in occasionwear to its retail and Tailor Me offer.

LFL retail sales, including e-commerce, were up 2.2% during the period, reflecting a "strong" e-commerce performance and positive momentum in high street stores. Meanwhile, the company's outlet store business was more challenged, especially over Easter, when warmer weather dented footfall.

E-commerce sales rose 18.7% on last year, making up 15.5% of total sales for the 15 weeks to date, compared with 13% for the same period last year.

LFL hire sales on a 'cash taken' basis were 15.6% lower than last year.

Chief executive officer Brian Brick said: "We are making progress on last year, having recovered from the stock issues and improved our supply chain. Retail and e-commerce sales have shown further improvement against this backdrop. Although Hire continues to disappoint, it is clear this is reflecting a switch from Hire to retail with the new Tailor Me range.

"We are building momentum in new channels to market and we are seeing a growth in new customers as a result. Tailor Me continues to gather momentum and is showing 32% growth in order value versus last year."

Brick added that the business remains on track to meet market expectations for the year.

At 1030 BST, the shares were down 4.4% at 20.45p.

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