But menswear and Toast fail to perform

French Connection has reduced its losses for its first half, but failed to achieve positive like-for-like sales after a poor performance at menswear and its Toast brand.

Womenswear sales improved 6 per cent on a like-for-like basis, but overall, like-for-likes were down 1.6 per cent as menswear failed to make as great an impression. Toast also suffered a very poor season, with its catalogue failing to convert sales.

Turnover for the group was£109.4 million, slightly down on last year with pre-tax losses improving from 3.6 million to£2.5 million for the six months to July 31.

French Connection chairman Stephen Marks said: “It is a challenging time across the board for high street retail. The past six weeks in particular have not been as we would have liked, but we are confident that we are holding our own.”

The retailer’s US stores continued to perform well, despite a recent fire at its flagship New York store.