Like-for-like sales grew 7.8% during the 19 weeks to 6 December

Like-for-like sales grew 7.8% during the 19 weeks to 6 December

Men's formal wear specialist Moss Bros Group has said it continued to make "good progress" in the first 19 weeks of the second half, and remains confident in its outlook.

Like-for-like sales increased 7.8% during the period ending 6 December.

Gross margin dropped 180 basis points, with hire sales accounting for a smaller proportion of total sales and a higher level of retail price promotions to drive sales in the unseasonably warm weather this autumn/winter.

The group said its full-year margin performance will, as always, depend on the level of discounting in the critical sale period in the final six weeks of the financial year.

For the 45-week period, total sales were up 5.6%, while like-for-like sales grew 7%. Retail sales benefited from the new sub brands launched for the autumn season, and from the increasing number of refitted stores now trading. 

E-commerce sales, which now account for 7.4% of group revenue, jumped 81%. 

"We are encouraged by the trading momentum throughout the business as we enter the important Christmas trading period," said CEO Brian Brick.

"Hire evening wear has shown growth on the prior year and although there has been some weakness in retail demand due to the warmer weather conditions, we have offset this with selective promotional activity and close control over costs.

"We continue to develop the business by leveraging the strength of our brands and our operational capabilities. The board remains confident in the outlook for the full year."