Moss Bros is finding ways to bring shoppers to its doors, both of its stores and online. They include its Tailor Me suits, made using measurements taken in-store, to its newly launched eco suit and its sales via marketplaces and via third-party retailer Next.
The development comes as the formalwear retailer and hire business says its sales are growing online and in stores – but it is in discussions with landlords about the cost of retail space that is now attracting fewer shoppers. While its like-for-like in-store sales improved in the first half of the year, that, it says, came despite continued declining footfall. It says that where it has saved money from rents, it has reinvested that in digital customer acquisition and in in-store staff.
One way the retailer has brought visitors in store has been its Tailor Me made-to-measure suits, where orders grew by 48% in the first half. It has launched an eco suit, made from up to 45 plastic bottles. Now it is also planning to invest in updating product for its hire business – where 11% of revenues are generated.
The retailer, ranked Top50 in IRUK Top500 research, today reported total group revenue of £65.4m in the half-year to July 27. Like-for-like sales grew by 2.9% on the same time last year, including 0.6% growth in store LFLs. Online sales were 20% up on last time, and now represent 15% of total sales. Some 44% of ecommerce traffic comes via mobile. But at the bottom line the retailer reported a pre-tax loss of £2.7m after one-off costs including the £1.1m impact of moving to new IFRS accounting standards. That’s increased from a loss of £1.7m last time.
Moss Bros chief executive Brian Brick said: “Reflecting on our first half performance, it feels that we are gaining traction in a number of areas. The return to growth of our stores is extremely important to us and we will continue to focus on maintaining this trend. The growth which we have seen in stores is set against a backdrop of lower footfall in our stores than last year in most locations in which we operate. Our conversations with our landlords are active and ongoing to ensure that we can align our store occupancy costs with the lower footfall which we experience, whilst continuing to offer store-centric services such as Tailor Me, our custom-made suiting proposition, which continues to go from strength to strength.
“Our online sales continue to grow strongly as a result of increased investment in new customer acquisition to our own website, www.moss.co.uk, and we are also seeing positive momentum of product sold via the Next online marketplace as we expand the product options stocked via that site. Growth of online revenues remains central to our future success and has now reached 15% of our total sales.”
As of July 27, Moss Bros traded from 127 stores, following one relocation and two store closures during the first half.
Image courtesy of Moss Bros