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Moss Bros sees first-quarter boost to online and store sales

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Moss Bros today pointed to rising online and store-based sales in the first 15 weeks of its financial year.

The formalwear retailer and hire company, a Top100 retailer in IRUK Top500 research, said in an AGM trading udpate that ecommerce sales grew by 14.7% compared to the same time last year, and accounted for a growing share of total retail sales, at 11.6% – up from 10.7% a year earlier.

At the same time, overall sales grew by 3.7% on last year, with like-for-like sales up by 2.3%, or 5.5% when ecommerce was included.

The company has continued to upgrade its store network, with three stores upgraded and two refitted in the year so far. That takes the total of new-look stores to 101 out of a total portfolio of 129 stores. New format stores, said Moss Bros, are trading ahead of refitted stores and on target to return their investment.

Chief executive Brian Brick said the company was pleased with its progress. “Moss Bros continues to trade well and in line with the board’s expectations, despite the continuing tough trading environment and a highly competitive marketplace which has seen significantly more markdown activity than the same period last year,” he said. “Retail and ecommerce sales have shown further improvement against this backdrop.

“We continue to be acutely aware of the economic headwinds which we will face for the remainder of the financial year, as input cost increases come into effect. We are also mindful that zero real wage growth will impact on consumer confidence.”

In full-year figures, reported in March, Moss Bros said it was moving towards an omnichannel experience that will underpin the growth of its online business. Stores and mobile are part of that experience, with 43% of sales taking place on mobile in the last full year, and shoppers coming into store to complete transactions started online, or to pick up online orders through a click and collect service.

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