Moss Bros is eyeing moves into more overseas territories after bosses admitted international expansion was “relatively high” on their agenda.
The formal menswear specialist already operates two stores in the Middle East – one standalone store and one department store concession – and transactional websites in four countries outside the UK.
Moss Bros chief financial officer Tony Bennett told Retail Week its preference would be to take its online offer overseas before looking to establish a bricks-and-mortar proposition.
Speaking after Moss Bros posted a 20.3% jump in pre-tax profit before exceptional items to £7.1m in the year to January 28, Bennett said: “The first point we would take in terms of a move overseas would be to extend our online presence.
“We already have two stores in the Middle East, which really for us are test-and-learn type stores.
“Online, we already have a US, an Australian, an Irish and a Swedish website and we will take small steps into other territories, probably through partnerships to begin with, just to understand which territories might have a desire for Moss Bros product.
“Once we are happy we can commercially expand into those territories, we will take our own website to the country.”
He added: “The online piece is relatively high on the agenda and is certainly a focus for the ecommerce team.
“For a physical presence, we need to prove the model for a little while longer.”
Chief executive Brian Brick said its physical presence in the Middle East was “doing okay.”
“We’re growing nicely, but it’s early days,” he said.
“We don’t want to rush. We want to make sure we really get it right, but we’re quite happy with the way they are doing.”
Success at home
As well as pursuing a larger online presence overseas, Moss Bros also wants to grow ecommerce sales in its homeland.
Online revenues spiked 15.7% during its financial year and now account for 11% of total sales.
Brick believes they could soon account for a quarter of group revenues.
“We see no reason why it [online] can’t be 20-25% of our overall business. We’ll continue to grow it,” he said.
“It’s going to take a few years, but we are starting to put more focus on it, we are starting to put more resource into it.
“We brought in a new customer director at the beginning of last year, our new buying director, who starts next week, comes from a multichannel background and that’s made the difference.”