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French Connection sees ‘significant growth’ online, as group profits and sales fall

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French Connection said this week that more than 10% of its sales now take place online, following investment in the channel. Ecommerce sales had grown “significantly” at a time when its overall sales were down, taking the company into the red.

In the year to January 31, French Connection Group revenue fell by 8.7% to £197.3m, and the company reported a pre-tax loss of £10.5m, from a profit of £5m last year.

The fashion retailer, which operates ecommerce fashion and homewares Toast, wholesale womenswear brand Great Plains and fashion brand YMC alongside its core French Connection business, said more than 10% of its retail revenues came from ecommerce in its European and UK business, while its North American business also saw ecommerce sales running at 10%.

The introduction of new multichannel services, including click and collect and web returns to store, stood alongside new investment in driving “significant” growth in this channel.

Stephen Marks, chairman and chief executive of French Connection , now plans “a broad range of improvements” in the business, aimed at restoring profitability.

“After a difficult trading year,” said Marks, “I am pleased that many of the initiatives we have taken in order to provide a new impetus to sales growth are beginning to show interesting results. While it is still early days we see some good progress and I am pleased there is some momentum in the business.

“The significant changes we have already and will continue to make will help us to improve our financial performance in this most difficult and competitive of markets.”

Its strategy for change includes building an international distribution network, changes to in-store operations, disposing of “underperforming” stores, a “more customer-focused” range of products, better management of merchandising and a strengthened management team, which now includes a director of multichannel marketing.


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