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Moss Bros ecommerce sales grow by more than a third

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Moss Bros today said ecommerce sales grew by 36.3% to reach 10% of total sales in its latest financial year as it made progress in its journey towards becoming a multichannel retailer. More than a third (37%) of online sales took place via smartphones and tablet computers.

The mens’ formalwear business today reported revenue of £121.1m in the year to January 30, 5.6% up from £114.7m at the same time last year. Pre-tax profits of £5.8m after exceptional items of £98,000, were 20.1% up from profits of £4.8m at the same time last year.

Chief executive Brian Brick said the retail and hire business continued “to make strong progress in the delivery of our strategic priorities.” He added: “The modernisation of the store portfolio, which is nearing completion, is achieving the anticipated returns and we have well-developed plans for the implementation of our multichannel shopping environment.”

Online, the company said that site traffic, conversion and retention rates to its retail website were “on improving trends”. International expansion is now focused on ecommerce, with dedicated, local currency sites operating for the Republic of Ireland, Australia and US markets. “Ecommerce,” said the company in its full-year statement, “has also proved to be a very efficient means of clearing end-of-line stock with faster sell-through rates and an improvement in prices achieved.”

Hire, it said, was becoming a multichannel experience, with wedding hire customers starting their journey online before completing the transaction in the store. Work is now underway to improve the customer experience and boost conversion rates. Hire sales across all channels increased by 11.7% over the year, representing a recovery in wedding hire.

Offline, the company is focusing on a store refitting programme, which it said helped to boost like-for-like sales by 7.6% in the latest financial year. It opened four new stores and closed ten in the UK during the year, while also relocating four stores into larger sites at better locations – taking the total store numbers to 124 in January 2016, down from 130 a year earlier. Of those stores, 81 now have a new format. But it said the demand for click and collect and click and return services means there was an opportunity to expand its store footprint “on a selective and cost-effective basis”.

Black Friday, it said, had attracted “significant customer interest” both in stores and online. This year it said “a carefully targeted campaign” meant it had managed its exposure to discounting more effectively. Over the year it said it had been able to manage stock better, discount less and improve profit margins.

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