Store refurbishments have alleviated the pressures of tough trading conditions for menswear group Moss Bros.

Retail like-for-like sales were up 3 per cent at Moss Bros for the six months to July 28.Pre-tax profits fell to£800,000, largely because of higher fixed occupancy costs, but remained in line with the retailer's expectations.

Like-for-like retail sales in the eight weeks to September 22 were 0.8 per cent up, but planned store closures drove group sales down 3 per cent over the period.

The 25 Moss Bros stores that have been refurbished so far this year have performed well for the retailer enjoying average sales boosts of 6 per cent. About£3.75 million will be invested to refurbish 30 more stores in 2008.

Moss Bros chief executive Philip Mountford said: “The refurbishment programme is providing good returns and we continue to open new stores in areas that we have identified as a good fit for the fascias we operate.”

Mountford also said that he was excited about the new Simon Carter franchise agreement, which opened its first store inCovent Garden last week and he plans to open further standalone stores with the brand.

Next week will also see the relaunch of the Moss Bros's web site, which has been redesigned and will offer a greater product range and style advise for its customers.