Formalwear retailer Moss Bros’ like-for-likes advanced 5.3% in the 19 weeks to December 7 as it remains on course to hit anticipated market growth.

In the 45 weeks to 7 December like-for-likes edged up 2.2% and total sales rose 1.8%.

Moss Bros gross margin for the half to date dipped 70 basis points as hire sales account for a smaller proportion of sales. It said gross margin performance for the year will depend on the level of discounting in the Sale period in the final six weeks of the financial year.

Ecommerce sales soared 194% in its year to date with new retail websites launched in Ireland, Sweden and Denmark. It plans to launch a website in Australia early next year.

Moss Bros opened four new stores over the year with seven closed and 13 refitted as part of its five-year refit programme. It said trading has improved as expected post-revamp. It plans to refit a further 20 stores in its next financial year.

Moss Bros chief executive Brian Brick said: “We are encouraged by the trading momentum throughout the business, which has continued into the second half of this year and we enter the important Christmas trading period in good shape.

“We continue to develop the business by leveraging the strength of our brands and our operational capabilities. The board remains confident in the outlook for the full year.”