- Men's suit retailer Moss Bros Group cuts its dividend amid a fall in annual profit blamed on stock shortages and fragile consumer confidence.

Current trading remained challenging as consolidation of key suppliers continued to create stock shortages. 'We anticipate that these issues will be resolved by late Spring 2018,' the company said.

Pre-tax profit in 2017 declined 6.1% to £6.7m, as rising revenue was offset by an increased cost of sales.

As it had previously warned, the company cut its dividend for the full year to 4p per share, down from 5.89p in 2016. 'The cut reflects a prudent approach to capital management, modifying the existing dividend policy to ensure we are able to fully cover our future dividends with profits in FY20/21 and onwards,' Moss Bros said.

Retail like-for-like sales including e-commerce in the first eight weeks of the new financial year were down 6.7%.

'Although this shows a slight improvement of the trend we reported in January, it is clear that the recovery we anticipated has been significantly hampered by the stock shortages.'

Chief executive Brian Brick said the company's performance in the final quarter of 2017 was 'frustrating'.

'We suffered from a significant stock shortage, due to the poor implementation of the project to consolidate suppliers,' Brick said.

'We left ourselves with too little 'running line' stock to close out the year having bought cautiously for the second half of 2017. This has continued to hamper our performance into the start of the year.'

'In spite of this issue, we have continued to progress the modernisation of the store portfolio, which is nearing completion and develop our omni-channel shopping proposition, including a better level of customer segmentation.'

At 8:03am: [LON:MOSB] Moss Bros Group PLC share price was 0p at 46.75p

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