Menswear retailer Moss Bros like-for-likes surged 13.4% in the 20 weeks to June 18.

The figure excludes the Cecil Gee business, which it revealed this morning it had sold to JD Sports for £1.7m.

Moss Bros said Gross margin is “currently ahead of last year” although added that rising raw material prices are expected to limit further improvement in the second half of the year.

Moss Bros said it “anticipates that the out turn for the full year will be ahead of current market forecasts”.

The retailer said the disposal of the Cecil Gee business is integral to its stated strategy of focusing on the core Moss business.

It added that the disposal, in conjunction with the disposal of the Hugo Boss franchised business earlier this year, will enable Moss Bros to “significantly accelerate” its strategy of focusing on the core business.

The cash proceeds will go towards funding the redevelopment of Moss branded stores, investment in the service experience, piloting an appropriate roll out of new initiatives such as Moss Bespoke and the development of a customer relationship management system to leverage the value of the hire business.

It also added that the disposal of Cecil Gee will “result in a much simpler business model”.

Moss Bros chief executive Brian Brick said: “This is another significant milestone in delivering the strategy we set out of leveraging the core Moss business. 

“Having restored the quality of our product offering and continued the strong momentum in positive like-for-like sales, this transaction will give us the opportunity to accelerate investment and development of the brands which we own, from a position of operational focus and financial strength.

“Although we are ever mindful of the fragile trading conditions in the UK, we are making good progress towards leadership of the attractive niche which we have as the UK’s number 1 branded suit specialist.”