Sales down but trend improving
Austin Reed has revealed a slight improvement in sales over the past eight weeks. The menswear retailer said on April 14 that sales in the 10 weeks to April 9 were down by 7 per cent and like-for-like sales were down 6 per cent. Today, the retailer revealed total and like-for-like sales for the 18 weeks to June 4 are down slightly less, at 5 per cent and 3 per cent respectively.

The Austin Reed fascia's performance over the period was encouraging, with total sales up 3 per cent and like-for-like sales up 1 per cent. However, in the same period the Country Casuals chain offset these gains, with total sales in the mature womenswear brand for the period falling by 10 per cent and like-for-like sales by 6 per cent.

Country Casuals is undergoing rebranding in an effort to update its mumsy image. The retailer expects 187 Country Casuals outlets to be rebadged as CC with more fashion-led ranges in the stores by September.

The retailer said in its AGM statement: 'We have continued to focus on full-price sales and margins show significant growth on last year. As previously reported, we do not expect the effect of the repositioning of the Country Casuals brand to be seen until the second half of the current financial year.'