French Connection has provided a trading update on completion of the Christmas period. Following a good start to the autumn/winter season, sales in French Connection’s UK/Europe retail business softened a little in the run-up to Christmas. Despite this, and with the benefit of tightly controlled inventory, the company decided to delay the start of its sale period by one week as part of its process to build brand equity. As a result, UK/Europe retail like-for-like sales in the 24 weeks to January 12, 2013, showed a decline of 2.9 percent of which 1.9 percent was in relation to moving the sale date.
The company was able to implement a similar delay in sale start date in North America where there was also some disruption from extreme weather in the period. Overall, trading in North America was broadly in-line with expectations. The group expects to report a loss before tax and exceptional items for the year ending January 31, 2013, in the region of 7.5 million pounds (11.90 million dollars) to 8 million pounds (12.69 million dollars). The group expects to close the year with net cash in the region of 25 million pounds (39.64 million dollars).
The French Connection Group comprises retail and wholesale businesses in the UK, Europe, the US, Canada, Hong Kong and China. The group operates successful brand licenses under which partners produce fragrances, jewelry, toiletries, shoes and eyewear.