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A fifth of French Connection sales now online

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Online now accounts for 20% of French Connection sales, the fashion retailer said today.

Its ecommerce business grew by 8% as total revenue dipped by 4% to £189.4m in the year to January 31, and the underlying operating loss narrowed to £4.4m, from £7.2m at the same time last year. Like-for-like sales in the UK and Europe grew by 1.4%.

The company said it would now invest in its multichannel offering. “It is clear that we will need to maintain this investment,” said today’s full-year French Connection statement, “in order to ensure we provide high levels of functionality to customers.”

French Connection said its online Toast business had “performed well” during the year.

Elsewhere the company closed nine stores in the UK and Europe during the year, impacting sales. It plans to close a further three to five stores during the year. Further stores were opened in China and Hong Kong, where the company operates through joint ventures.

It also said a new design team had produced improved collections that “had a positive impact”.

Stephen Marks, chairman and chief executive, said: “We have accomplished a lot in the past year and will build on that momentum to deliver further improvements. We have seen a positive reception to our spring range and whilst there is still much to do. I am confident we are on the right path and have the right strategy to drive further progress.”

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