French Connection has announced it will be shuttering more of its stores following the closure of two under-performing branches in the last six months.
The fashion retailer blamed the decline of House of Fraser and poor high street footfall on the fresh closures, and lost £15m in the six months leading up to July 2018 as like-for-like sales dropped by 7%.
A French Connection spokesperson told Retail Sector the company was to shutter six further stores leaving it with 30 in total at the end of the year.
Some £10m of French Connection’s loss was made up of provisions for bad debts, as the company made a one-off provision for “onerous leases” on stores it intends to shut but isn’t able to at the moment.
However, the group said it was still on course for a small amount of profit at the end of the year. The company only lost £5.5m for the first half when considering the £9.3m raised from the sale of its Toast brand, and said order books for the second half of the year were strong.
Despite the company’s poor results, Stephen Marks, CEO and chairman said he was “pleased” with changes made to the business over the last couple of years. He added: “There is no doubt that progress has not been helped by the trading conditions in which we operate in the UK, although we can take great confidence from the performance of the wholesale business and the stability of the licence income.
“The order books we have provide a clear outlook for the second half of the year in wholesale although retail continues to be challenging. We remain on target to return the business to profitability this year and we will be doing everything we can to ensure that happens.”