May 16, 2018
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Moss Bros bounces back from stock issues but sales still down

May 16, 2018

Moss Bros had some long-awaited better news on Wednesday with the under pressure menswear retailer saying trading in the 15 weeks to May 12 has improved.

Moss Bros

It last delivered an update during March and that offered up figures that made tough reading due to its admission that it had stock issues. But it seems to be getting to grips with these, even though sales are still falling.

In the latest period, total sales are down 2.4% year-on-year and on a like-for-like basis, they're down a worse 5.2%. But given that, the total figure was down 4.4% and the like-for-like one down 6.5% at the time of the March update, the situation seems to be easing.

It said like-for-like retail sales, including e-commerce, are down 5.2%, a slight improvement on the March run rate of a 6.7% drop, reflecting a recovery from the new season stock shortages.

And also good news, e-commerce sales are now up 11%, very much better than the 4% rise announced in the March update. That means total digital sales now make up 13% of the overall sales figure, while a year ago they accounted for only 11.5%.

CEO Brian Brick said the business continues to bounce back from the stock-related challenges experienced at the start of the current financial year, “although a fragile and more volatile consumer environment continues.”

But despite that fragile environment, Moss Bros is just entering strongest period of its trading year, with wedding season, school proms and Ascot ahead, so he remains upbeat. “We are well placed with our core offer and levels of stock availability to maximise our share of our customers' spend,” he added, which is good news given the stock challenges that have hurt the company so far.
Brick also announced that company chairman Debbie Hewitt is to leave in a year’s time after nine years with the company. During the next 12 months, it will be looking for a successor to “ensure an effective handover.”

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