Retail Week looks ahead to the next seven days, with full-year results from French Connection and Sainsbury’s fourth quarter update both on the agenda.

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French Connection

The embattled fashion chain unveils its full-year results on Tuesday.

French Connection has suffered amid turbulent trading conditions in the UK; however, the retailer’s like-for-like sales across its British and European stores jumped 6.5% in the six months to July 31.

Despite those same-store sales gains, group revenues decreased 2.3% to £69.2m at the half-year stage as French Connection shuttered five stores, equating to a 15.8% reduction in square footage.

The business has come under attack from investors Gatemore, OTK Holding and Zoar Invest, who joined forces in January by penning a letter to directors, in which they claimed that the board was “not fit for task”.

The trio of firms, which together own 15% of French Connection, maintained that the retailer was acting as if it “were achieving its targets” and that it was “deeply concerned about the company’s utter lack of progress on improving its operating performance”.

In the stinging letter, the investors also demanded that board members Claire Kent and Dean Murray relinquish their positions.

In response, French Connection boss Stepehn Marks, who is also under pressure to turn the business around, indicated that both Kent and Murray would step down imminently.

Another major shareholder, Schroders, offloaded its entire 9.27% stake for just 33p a share just weeks later.

But Sports Direct snapped up an 11% shareholding in the business as Mike Ashley added to his growing stable of retail interests.


The supermarket giant updates rhe market with details of its fourth quarter performance on Thursday.

Sainsbury’s, which posted a 10.1% drop in underlying pre-tax profits to £277m during the 28 weeks to September 24, is ramping up its integration of the Argos and Habitat businesses following the £1.4bn acquisition of Home Retail Group last September.

The grocer is installing Argos shop-in-shops in its stores and rolling out mini Habitat stores across a clutch of its larger sheds as it creates the ‘supermarket of the future.’

Despite the acquisition, Sainsbury’s like-for-like sales were only flat during its third quarter amid a fiercely competitive grocery market, in which Tesco and Morrisons are both in the midst of turnaround plans.

Earlier this month the grocer revealed plans to axe up to 400 price controller roles in its stores as it adapts to changing shopper habits.