Moss Bros has reported a 2.7% increase in like-for-like sales in the first half and forecast its full-year performance will exceed expectations after a strong Christmas.

The formalwear retailer said like-for-like cash gross profit for the 24 weeks to January 12 was 9.5% ahead of last year.

Moss Bros said careful management of the level of discounting over Christmas and continued tight cost control have meant that profit expectations for the financial year will exceed market expectations. 

Chief executive Brian Brick said: “We are encouraged by trading throughout the business over the key Christmas trading period. Close control over discounting to clear stocks, coupled with continued strong cost management, means we will finish 2012/13 ahead of expectations.

“We remain conscious of the fragile trading environment, but continue to rigorously implement our strategic plan to turnaround and grow the business.”

Independent retail analyst Nick Bubb said: “In the past, Moss Bros and formal menswear has been a tough business to get right, but under chief executive Brian Brick, the new management team has succeeded with the turnaround strategy, so good for them.”

The retailer will reveal its preliminary results on March 22.