Moss Bros has revealed plans to expand internationally with two stores in the Middle East as its turnaround continues to bear fruit.

The suit specialist today reported a 44% hike in pre-tax profits to £2.8m, while total sales increased 10% to £61.3m during the period after the retailer recorded strong growth from its ecommerce business and a sales increase in its wedding hire category.

Moss Bros also unveiled plans for its first foray overseas with a store in Dubai poised to launch this year and another in Abu Dhabi next year.

Moss Bros chief executive Brian Brick said there are big opportunities across the region.

“A lot of retailers go to Dubai and trade very well. They’ve got big shopping centres and a lot of tourists with a big ex-pat community and a lot of people wear suits for business,” he said. “We hope to take it beyond two stores – it depends on how trade is. We believe it’s a good area to develop in.”

He said there were no other new markets on the horizon.

Domestic openings

However, the retailer still forecasts growth in the UK and has plans to open 15 stores on its home turf in the next three years. It will also pump investment into its ecommerce proposition as it aims for sales from its website to account for 20% of total revenues, up from 10%.

Its expansion plans came as it reported positive results as part of the ongoing turnaround of the business, which was first launched in 2011.

“The work we have done on our refurbishment has started to pay off. We’ve done the majority of the stores now and people are starting to notice us. We’re running less promotions and that’s impacting sales and brand perception.”

Although Brick described the retailer as having a “phenomenal weekend” during Black Friday last year, he says the retailer will reduce its activity this year.

“I think it’s here to stay but I think retailers will do it slightly differently [this year]. We will have slightly less [on offer] now we know what the demand is; this year we’ll do it more intelligently. We will scale back as all that happened last year was that it brought forward expenditure at a lower margin.”