StockMarketWire.com - Moss Bros Group said it overall trading performance continues to improve on the prior year, in line with market expectations.

"Strong retail sales (which account for the majority of total sales) have underpinned this continued good performance and the Group is on course to deliver anticipated levels of growth," it said.

The company's comments were part of an interim management statement for the 16-week period from Jan. 26 to May 17.

Highlights included:

- Total sales for the continuing business for the first 16 weeks increased by 5.4% on last year. Like-for-like sales were up 6.3% for the same period.

- Like-for-like retail sales, including e-commerce, were up 8.5% with the new season's ranges performing well. Hire sales were 3.8% lower reflecting a subdued wedding market.

- Like-for-like cash gross profit, benefiting from the strong performance in retail, was 6.0% up on last year after 16 weeks.

- E-commerce retail sales continue to grow strongly, up 115% against last year, supported by the ongoing development of the new Retail website, now in its second year of operation.

- Our mobile site comprises 9% of e-commerce sales following its launch in May 2013.

- Country specific sites are now in place for Eire, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands and Australia with international sales currently comprising 6% of total online sales.

- Traffic flow, conversion and customer retention rates continue to improve.

- Our multi-channel Hire website, launched in November 2013 is performing well and has seen gradually increasing traffic flow and revenue.

- Total e-commerce sales now comprise 6.5% of total sales compared with 3.3% for the same period last year.

- As previously reported, the company has accelerated its store refit programme in 2014 and a further seven stores have been refitted so far this year, bringing the total number of stores trading in the new format to 45 out of a total portfolio of 135 stores. The new format stores continue to trade ahead of non-refitted stores and are on track to achieve their anticipated payback targets.

- The revitalisation of our brand communications and offer is well underway with the new master brand "Moss Bros" replacing "Moss" in-store and online. New products adopting the new sub-brand hierarchy are being launched in store and online for the Autumn 2014 season through the introduction of the Moss London, Moss 1851 and Moss Esq. labels.




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