Menswear group Moss Bros insists it will remain committed to its formal menswear chain Savoy Taylors Guild after disposing of its Cecil Gee chain for £1.7m to JD Sports Fashion.

Moss Bros, which sold eight Cecil Gee stores and stock to JD this week, will use the cash from the deal to invest in its core business and expand Savoy Taylors Guild.

Moss Bros chief executive Brian Brick said that the disposal of Cecil Gee - which was merged into the Moss Bros business in the nineties - meant the group had completed its slimming down to focus on its core Moss business. It disposed of its 15 Hugo Boss franchise stores for £16.5m in February.

Savoy Taylors Guild is Moss Bros’ premium offer, selling brands not available in Moss Bros including Paul Smith and Canali as well as some own-branded casualwear. It has 10 stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland, including four in the City of London.

Brick declined to comment on how many stores Savoy Taylors Guild could have, but said: “There are cities where we can have Savoy Taylors Guild and Moss.”

Investment will also be made in Moss Bros’ new format stores, which house its Moss retail offer, suit hire offer and bespoke tailored chain under one roof.

Like-for-like sales in the 20 weeks to June 18 grew 13.4%, driven by the performance of formal wear in the menswear sector.

Analysts upgraded profits and Moss Bros said it expected to put in a performance ahead of expectations in the full year.

In its last financial year Moss Bros narrowed its pre-tax losses from £3.9m to £2.7m. “We are on the way to profitability,” Brick said, but declined to state a time frame.

Gross margins were ahead of last year but Brick added that rising prices of raw materials, particularly wool, would continue to have an effect on customer prices.

  • JD Sports has also acquired a controlling stake in Spanish sports retailer Sprinter, which has 47 stores. The newly created JD Sprinter will help it to expand in Spain.