• H1 pre-tax profit flat at GBP2.2m
  • Sales up 1.2% to GBP53.3m
  • E-commerce sales surge up 164%

Apparel retail and hire specialist Moss Bros reported a flat profit for the first half of the fiscal year, boosted by a triple-digit surge in e-commerce sales.

Like-for-like sales were flat overall, but rose 1.7% in retail, with hire like-for-likes declining by 7.2%, and gross margin falling 0.7% to 59.7%.

The UK company said its new retail website, which went live in January, had brought “significant increases” in customer traffic and conversion rates, with a transactional hire site set to follow in November.

Updating on current business, Moss Bros said like-for-like sales for the eight weeks to 21 September were up 4.9%.

CEO Brian Brick hailed the results as “good progress” and said: “Trading improved during the period as the abnormally cold and wet weather in February and March was replaced by more seasonal conditions.

“The early response to the autumn/winter range is positive, with like-for-like sales continuing to improve year-on-year, and gross margins showing an improving trend against the prior year, as we move out of the summer clearance activity.”