Menswear group Moss Bros has returned to profit sooner than expected after its like-for-likes grew and it reduced its costs.

For the year to January 28 the retailer made a pre-tax profit of £900,000, compared with a loss of £8.9m in the year before. EBITDA rose to £5.8m compared with a loss of £600,000.

Group like-for-like sales, including VAT, were up 12.5% with like-for-like retail sales up 13.1% while like-for-like hire sales jumped 10.1%. Total sales for the period were £101.2m.

The retailer benefitted from the new hire distribution system that was fully implemented last year which helped it notch up record sales in its hire business.

Its ecommerce operation also improved in 2011, with sales “sharply” up on the year before. During the second half of this year Moss Bros will implement a click-and-collect and click-and-return service. 

Moss Bros said trading in the eight weeks to March 25 had “continued to be encouraging”. Like-for-like sales have continued to improve, although gross margins have been affected by the increasing cost of raw material. 

Chief executive Brian Brick said: “In spite of tough trading conditions, we continue to make great progress in turning the business around.  We have continued with our work on the new store fits, to improve the customer perception of the brand and to improve financial returns. During 2012/13 we will continue to carry out test refits on selected stores, to assess the impact on sales.

“We are also progressing our plans for an integrated ecommerce offering and exploring ways of leveraging our customer data, whilst at the same time applying careful management of our costs, to ensure we have resilience if there is another downturn in consumer spending.”