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Menswear business Moss Bros pre-tax profits triple

Menswear business Moss Bros delivered a rise in profits last year although has seen sales slow at the start of its new financial year.

In the period from January 29, 2012 to January 26, 2013 pre-tax profit before exceptional items more than tripled from £900,000 to £3.0m, while EBITDA propelled by 36% to £7.9m fuelled by improved sales and tight cost control.

Total like-for-like sales grew by 3.9%, with like-for-like retail sales rising 4.1% as like-for-like hire sales increased by 3.1%. The group called the performance from its hire arm “excellent” despite a disrupted trading year, impacted by the Royal Jubilee and the summer’s sporting events.

Online sales continued to grow delivering a 54.3% rise with click-and-collect available nationwide.

The company said its performance continues to be in line with market expectations but is “mindful of the fragile economy”.

Sales in the first seven weeks of the financial year are slightly below last year’s levels although gross margins are stronger and ecommerce sales are “significantly ahead” of last year. Like-for-like gross profit in the seven weeks to March 16 is 2.4% below last year.

Chief executive Brian Brick said: “We continue to make good progress and to bring momentum to the growth in profit in spite of tough trading conditions. During 2013/14 we will continue the roll-out of the store development programme and the development of our e-commerce multi-channel offering.”

He added: “In parallel, we will undertake a customer insight project, to develop a clearer brand proposition for the business, enabling us to target customers in a more defined way. Further opportunities for growth are well supported by our strong balance sheet.”

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