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Moss Bros ecommerce sales up by 55%

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Moss Bros today reported a 55% leap in ecommerce sales that helped to boost both sales and profits in the first half of its financial year.

The multichannel formalwear retailer, a Top100 trader in Internet Retailing’s IRUK500 research, today reported a 9.7% growth in retail sales, aided by the fast growth in online sales, which now account for 10% of group revenue. That’s up from 7.8% at the same time last year. Mobile sales accounted for 23% of ecommerce sales.

Overall, Moss Bros reported revenue of £61.3m in the 26 weeks to August 1, 9.7% ahead of the £55.8m reported at the same time last year. Within that, retail sales of £51.99m were 9.7% up on the previous year on a like-for-like basis, which strips out the effect of store openings and closures, while hire sales of £9.3m were 9.8% ahead. Pre-tax profits of £2.8m were 47% ahead of the £1.9m reported at the same time last year. That growth, said the company in today’s results statement, is “due to strong like-for-like sales and margin growth benefitting from an increasing contribution from refitted stores and online growth.”

Chief executive Brian Brick said: “The implementation of a more coordinated and targeted promotional programme, in conjunction with improved clearance of residual stocks through our ecommerce Outlet channel, has enabled us to improve our achieved gross margin. Ecommerce has grown strongly in the period and this trend is expected to continue.”

During the half-year, Moss Bros launched a country-specific website for the US market, adding to dedicated sites for Eire, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia. International sales now make up 3.1% of all online retail sales. “We are at the very early stages of testing our retail proposition in international markets and will do so rigorously to ensure we understand the resonance of our brand and proposition,” said Brick.

The retailer also said it had now completed its single customer record database, which will underpin a customer relationship management programme to be launched ahead of Christmas. It is introducing the role of People Director, responsible for staff development, as it looks to differentiate itself as a multichannel retailer by offering “excellent customer service”, and said it would pay the living wage from next April.

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