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French Connection CEO to retire as H1 losses narrow

During the period, group revenue grew to £40.2m from £23.9m in 2020, but was down 21% compared with pre-Covid trading in 2019 at £51m

French Connection has revealed that its chairman and chief executive Stephen Marks will retire from the company following its completion of the £29m buyout deal.

It comes as the group saw its losses narrow for the six-month period ending 31 July 2021 to £900,000 from £12.2m the previous year.

During the period, group revenue grew to £40.2m from £23.9m in 2020, but was down 21% compared with pre-Covid trading in 2019 at £51m.

Wholesale revenue improved slightly to £28.8m compared with £27.2m in 2019 as the business benefited from UK customers with strong e-commerce propositions and a growing US departmental store client base.

However, retail revenue fell by 52.1% to £11.4m when compared with pre-Covid trading at £23.8m, which reflected the “significant reduction” in the stores portfolio due to the impact of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, overheads reduced to £15.2m (2019: £27.3m) due to permanent and temporary store closures, restructuring initiatives and a “tight focus” on all costs as well as some Covid-19 relief.

Marks said: “I am pleased that the improvement in business we saw in the early part of the period has continued throughout the first half of the financial year. Wholesale in both the UK and the US has performed well, with a good outcome to the summer season.

“This is an appropriate time for me to step back from the business that I founded in 1972, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our people for their contribution to our achievements over the years. I wish them all every success in the future.”

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