Menswear retailer Moss Bros’ full-year pre-tax profits jumped £2.1m to £3m but sales have slowed in the first weeks of its current year.
In the first seven weeks of its new financial year to March 16, sales were “slightly below” last year’s levels but on stronger margins. Moss Bros said like-for-like gross profit is 2.4% below last year but online sales were “significantly ahead” of last year and retail sales are improving following the poor weather at the beginning of the year.
For the year to January 26, EBITDA increased £2.1m to £7.9m, which the retailer said was down to sales improving and tight control over costs.
Retail like-for-likes were up 4.1% while hire like-for-likes rose 3.1% despite trading being disrupted by the Royal Jubilee and the sporting events over the summer last year.
Online sales soared 54.3% over the year and it launched a new retail website in January. Click-and-collect is now available nationwide.
Gross margin was 0.2% below last year at 59.5% despite raw material cost pressure.
Moss Bros refitted 14 stores over the year. It plans to refit 90 over the next five years.
Moss Bros chief executive Brian Brick said: “We continue to make good progress and to bring momentum to the growth in profit in spite of tough trading conditions. During 2013/14 we will continue the roll-out of the store development programme and the development of our ecommerce multichannel offering.
“The operational trends in the business are moving in the right direction and, although trading in the first seven weeks of 2013/14 is slightly below last year’s levels, we remain confident that the business will continue to make good progress and meet market expectations.”
The retailer is also poised to undertake a customer insight project to “develop a clearer brand proposition” for the business enabling it to “target customers in a more defined way”.