Fashion retailer French Connection Group has secured US$6.5m of additional funding for its US business, and says trade at stores that have reopened since the second lockdown in England and Wales has been "encouraging."

In a trading update today (11 December), the group said the funding has been obtained through the Main Street Lending Programme to support its US based operations and employees. The loan is for a period of five years with repayments starting from the end of the third year.

The US business is predominantly wholesale, and therefore requires a significant amount of working capital at certain times of the year to operate, which this will provide. 

The retailer had previously secured GBP15m in funding for its operations in July, after warning that it was likely to run out of cash.

French Connection said tightened Covid-19 guidance in September meant footfall declined and conditions became slightly more difficult across its retail channels. This was then compounded by the full closure required during the second lockdown in November.

"Since the England and Wales stores and concessions reopened on Wednesday 2 December, trade has been encouraging. Our e-commerce channels continue to trade positively even though we have adopted a less promotional stance during the period than last year.

"Wholesale has performed well with our major online customers continuing to trade and take deliveries throughout the period. Spring 21 orders are currently ahead of our expectations." 

In its most recent results for the six months ended 31 July, French Connection said group revenue almost halved to GBP23.9m (US$31.2m) from GBP51m in the prior-year period, with underlying loss slumping to GBP12.2m from GBP3.6m in 2019.