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Almost a quarter of French Connection sales now online

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French Connection today said almost a quarter of its sales took place online in its latest financial year.

The multichannel fashion retailer said ecommerce represented 23% of its retail turnover in the year to January 31 – up from 20% in the previous year. Some 24% of orders were collected in-store using click and collect services. Almost half of sales took place over mobile and tablet devices.

During the year, the company invested in its multichannel services, including its website platform and in improving its warehouse capabilities.

The digital insights came as French Connection reported full-year group revenue of £178.5m, down 5.8% from £189.4m last time. Retail sales of £103.3m were 12.1% down compared to the previous year, following the closure of nine stores, but wholesale revenues of £75.2m were 4.6% ahead of the same time last year.

Pre-tax losses came in at £1.6m, following costs of £0.8m related to store disposals and closures.

Stephen Marks, chairman and chief executive, said the retailer had started to move towards profitability during the year.

“The performance of our wholesale and licensing operations were both encouraging,” he said, “supported by the continued strength of the French Connection brand worldwide. We have also maintained a tight control of costs and have continued to close loss-making stores.

“Although we are encouraged by forward orders in our wholesale business, trading on the high street remains challenging and we are planning accordingly.”

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