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Moss Bros profit warning amid Christmas footfall drop

A disappointing performance during the Christmas period with drops in sales and footfall has forced Moss Bros to cut its profit forecast for the year.

The menswear retailer said in a trading update for the 26 weeks to January 6 that, during the peak Christmas trading season throughout December, like-for-like store sales plunged 8%.

However over the full 26 weeks, comparable sales edged up by 0.4%. This was because of a 12.3% increase in online sales and better performance in stores between August and November.

Yet due to the poor trading over the vital festive period Moss Bros said full year profits for the year to January will come in below market expectations at between £6.5m and £6.8m.

Commenting on the outlook, Brian Brick, chief executive officer, said: “We faced a very tough December trading environment, which led to a significant reduction in store footfall and a hardening of the corresponding competitive environment in which we operate.

“This, coupled with strong cost headwinds and a desire to protect margins, led to a disappointing year end short fall to sales and subsequently to our anticipated profits for the full year. This is all the more frustrating given that we have continued to make progress with LFL retail and online sales and with our Hire proposition.”

Brick also added that this would likely impact profits for 2018-2019, but Moss Bros will continue investing in the business in the face of ongoing high street woes.

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