Moss Bros has recorded a slump in preliminary profits despite increased like-for-like sales, which boss Brian Brick blamed on poor Christmas trading.

The menswear specialist posted a 6.1% decline in pre-tax profit to £6.7m in the 52 weeks to January 27.

Like-for-like and ecommerce sales rose 1.6% and 13.5% respectively during the period, the latter of which comprised 12% of the retailer’s overall sales.

Like-for-like hire sales were down 6.2%.

Moss Bros, which issued a profit warning for its current financial year earlier this month, attributed its decline in profits during the period to low Christmas footfall and “stock shortages caused by the consolidation of key suppliers”.

The menswear specialist added that its like-for-like sales during the first eight weeks of is current financial year are down 6.7% due to these stock shortages, which the retailer anticipates will be resolved by the end of this spring.

Chief executive Brick said: “It is frustrating that after a strong first-half performance, which continued into the third quarter of the year, the final quarter’s performance was below the level we had forecast.

“We suffered from a significant stock shortage, due to the poor implementation of the project to consolidate suppliers.

“We left ourselves with too little ‘running line’ stock to close out the year, having bought cautiously for the second half of 2017. This has continued to hamper our performance into the start of the year.

“In spite of this issue, we have continued to progress the modernisation of the store portfolio, which is nearing completion, and develop our omnichannel shopping proposition, including a better level of customer segmentation.

“Going forward, we are planning for an extremely challenging retail environment, not least because of the uncertain consumer environment and significant cost headwinds.

“However, there is no question that we have hampered our own position through the stock shortages and as this gets back on track, our strong consumer proposition is restoring momentum. We will ensure that we continue to invest in this proposition to protect our position.”