Moss Bros this week said that 11% of sales now come via ecommerce, as it reported rising sales and profits.
Group revenue at the formalwear hire and retail business, a Top100 trader in IRUK Top500 research, reached £66.6m in the six months to July 29, 4.3% up on the same time last year. Retail sales were up by 2.8% on a like-for-like basis that strips out the effect of store openings and closures. When a 14.5 rise in online sales was included, like-for-like sales were up by 5.1%.
Meanwhile, like-for-like hire sales fell by 8.4% to represent 12.8% of total sales in the period, as more customers chose to buy rather than hire their suits. Pre-tax profits of £4.2m were up by 15.7% on last time.
Moss Bros chief executive Brian Brick said: “We are pleased with the performance of Moss Bros during the first half in what was a very tough trading environment. The early response to the 2017 Autumn/Winter ranges has been encouraging and we continue to see our retail like-for-like sales improve.
“We remain acutely aware that market conditions remain tough, with a highly competitive retail landscape set to continue alongside an unpredictable economic back-drop. There are significant cost headwinds, driven by National Living Wage, the Apprenticeship Levy and weaker sterling.
“We remain agile in our trading approach, whilst continuing to invest wisely in our future growth.”
Here’s what the retailer said about its multichannel development.
An increase in visitor numbers drove strong growth in online sales. Moss Bros said it would continue to develop its online capabilities and said it was “particularly conscious of addressing the increasing proportion of shoppers who visit our site via mobile devices.” That’s in recognition of the 47% of online sales that are made via mobile devices.
Moss Bros trades from 129 stores, including four opened during the first half as part of a strategy of improving the store portfolio. The retailer said in its financial statement: “We will continue to improve the store portfolio where locations are found that meet our investment criteria.”
Moss Bros has introduced a custom tailoring service that’s now available in all its stores. The Tailor Me personalisation service was first launched in 2016 and is, says Moss Bros, “a simplified set of bespoke options offering a custom made suit, ready for collection within 30 days of placing an order.”
The retailer’s hire website now has a My Outfit feature that enables visitors to build an outfit online ahead of a visit to the store.