The continuing trend away from dressing down boosted first-half sales at Gieves & Hawkes Plc.

For the six months to 31st July 2001, the bespoke tailor and men's wear company managed to arrest the decline in suit sales, and boost its Gieves range of casual clothing. Sales in the UK were 11 per cent up, with like for like sales showing a 3.1 per cent increase.

Operating losses came to £303,000, a modest improvement over the first half of last year at which stage the operating loss amounted to £339,000.
"After a good start to the second half, like for like sales slowed in the wake
of the tragic events in New York and, at the end of the first 8 weeks (up until Saturday September 22nd ), were 3.8 per cent up on last year," said chairman Mike Nicholson in a statement. "The potential impact flowing from a combination of the recent events in America and the importance of the Christmas and New Year trading period, make it difficult to predict the result for the year. However, we would anticipate the full year trading result to be at or around breakeven."

The company said it plans to open three more shops in South East Asia before the end of the year, although market conditions in Japan continue to be difficult.