Losses spiral to £3.6m as retailer fails to win back shoppers
Fashion retailer French Connection has plunged into the red as collections and campaigns failed to entice shoppers.

Profit before tax at the retailer fell from£5.1 million last year to a loss of£3.6 million during the six months to July 31. Group revenue fell 6 per cent to£111.2 million against last year.

The group said in a statement it had recognised it had not met customers' expectations and was 'working extremely hard' to get the business back on track.

French Connection's poor performance over the period stemmed from weak sales and margins in both retail and wholesale over the first half, according to analysts. This, twinned with a sluggish retail climate, has stymied the retailer's attempts to win back customers after it dropped its controversial FCUK logo last year.

However, in the first three weeks of the season, the retailer has seen like-for-like sales increase more than 9 per cent. The retailer maintained it has seen a strong initial reaction to its winter collections with new season sales ahead of last year.

Investec analyst Matthew McEachran said: 'While the pace of any recovery will be slowed by licensing and the wholesale lag, French Connection does appear to be recovering as a result of significant changes to its product/design and advertising approach, which continue to gain momentum.'

French Connection chairman Stephen Marks said: 'The challenges we faced during the past financial year have continued to impact trading in the new year. It has taken longer than we had hoped to translate the changes we have made in our business into sales growth.''