Moss Bros should be “one of the survivors of the recession” analysts believe, after the retailer reported sales ahead of City expectations.

In the 16 weeks to May 23, like-for-like sales fell 3.9 per cent and total sales slipped 2.3 per cent. But in the past 10 weeks there was an improvement and like-for-likes declined 2 per cent.

Moss Bros chief executive Brian Brick said: “Our core competency of suit selling remains very strong, with our position as the UK’s number one branded suit specialist in no doubt.”

Numis analyst Andy Wade said the sales performance was better than expected but that gross margin, at 50 basis points, was “marginally behind”.

“With a sensible focus on cash and stock, Moss Bros should come out the other side of this recession but it will be a long haul back to profitability,” he added.

Brick “has his work cut out” Wade said, but argued “there are plenty of positives” including the strength of the retailer’s hire offering. He added: “With no borrowing, it should be one of the survivors of the recession, which could provide medium-term opportunities.”