StockMarketWire.com - Moss Bros booked a first-half pretax profit of £2.23m, ahead of £2.21m a year earlier. Revenue totalled £53.3m, from £52.7m. It hiked its interim dividend 50% to 0.3p a share, from 0.2p.

"Trading improved during the period as the abnormally cold and wet weather in February and March was replaced by more seasonal conditions," said CEO Brian Pick in a statement.

"Hire, as anticipated, had a difficult first half but we expect an improvement in the second half of the year as we move out of the wedding season into eveningwear, where we are already seeing good growth on the previous year," Pick added.

He said Moss Bros continued to make good progress in the delivery of its strategic priorities.

"The modernisation of the store portfolio is achieving the anticipated returns and our plans for e-commerce are on track. The decision to return to the heritage brand of Moss Bros was supported by strong feedback from our customer insight programme," he said.

"This research is helping us to prioritise how best to leverage the resonance the brand has with current and potential customers of all age groups."

Operational highlights included:

- On-line capability continues to grow strongly, with e-commerce sales up by 164% on the previous year. The new Retail website which went live in January 2013 has seen significant increases in customer traffic flow and conversion rates from launch. A transactional Hire website is planned to go live in November 2013.

- The refit programme to modernise the Moss Bros store portfolio remains on track and a further four stores were refitted in the first half. Refitted stores continue to trade in line with our 3 year payback target. A further ten stores are planned to be refitted in the second half of the year; one new store opened in the first half and two loss making stores closed.

- Comprehensive customer insight research project recently completed. The results highlight the strength and popularity of the Moss Bros brand and the opportunity to raise its profile within its target markets. -Early decision made to revert to Moss Bros as the master brand in place of Moss.


At 8:05am: [LON:MOSB] Moss Bros Group share price was 0p at 72.25p



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