• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Moss on a roll as sales jump and profit on track to beat forecasts

Moss Bros delivered more Christmas trading cheer as it said a surge in sales was set to see full-year profits beat City expectations.

Shares in the menswear retailer leapt by more than a fifth after it posted a 12.9% jump in like-for-like sales over the five weeks to January 11 and it promised to pay a bumper dividend to shareholders.

Moss Bros said it waited until Boxing Day before launching discounts despite widespread early clearance sales on the high street.

Sales growth was maintained throughout the festive period, but picked up significantly after Christmas, while it also benefited from strong online sales after launching its new site last January.

Chief executive Brian Brick said: "The improved sales performance and continued strong cost management and rigorous clearance of stock, means that we will finish 2013/14 ahead of market expectations."

Sales rose 7.3% overall in the six months to January 11, which comes as a marked improvement on the 2.7% increase posted a year earlier.

It announced plans to hand out a final dividend of 4.7p a share, taking the total payout for the financial year to 5p, up from 0.9p a year earlier as part of a move to hand more cash to shareholders.

Moss Bros, which trades from 132 stores nationwide, has staged a recovery in recent years, with Mr Brick revamping its ranges, stores and online presence since taking over at a low point for the group in 2009.

It has been refitting shops in the chain, with plans to overhaul another 20 this year, while a transactional hire website is set to launch before the end of March.

Freddie George, retail analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald, is now pencilling in a 33% hike in full-year profits to £4 million for the year to January 25 after the Christmas trading cheer.

He said: "The major attraction of the company is the potential for the development of the retail online platform, which was successfully launched in January 2013, including a nationwide 'click & collect' offering.

"However, the real step up in performance should occur when the transactional hire platform goes live," he added.

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

205615