MENSWEAR chain Moss Bros said sales were on an improving trend – after a surge in demand for business suits.
The company, which has a store at New Street in Huddersfield, said like-for-like sales were down 3.9% in the 16 weeks to May 23 – but this improved to a fall of 2% in the last 10 weeks of the period.
While overall sales are down, Moss said the number of suits sold rose by 27%. In March, it reported that nervousness in the workplace had prompted customers to focus their reduced spending power on suits – helping to offset weaker demand for ties, shirts and hire wear.
The retailer, which was founded in 1851, has 155 stores under brands including Moss Bros, Hugo Boss, Cecil Gee and Simon Carter .
In March, Moss announced a pre-tax loss of £9.3m for the 53 weeks to January 31, including exceptional items of £4.3m. It also failed to pay a final dividend.
But shares rose by 10% during trading yesterday as investors welcomed the improved trading performance.
Numis Securities analyst Andrew Wade said: “Getting back to profitability is going to be a long haul for Moss Bros and the new chief executive has his work cut out. “However, there are plenty of positives in the Moss Bros story.”