French Connection to sell stores

French Connection is selling part of its store portfolio after a review its retail division in March. Financially the company has lagged behind other high street conglomerates and this year saw its pre-tax profit fall from £7.3m to £5m, although its biggest loss came from its British and European retail business, which fell from a loss of £1.6m to £-8.2m.

According to the Evening Standard, French Connection is selling 14 of its 71 stores, including boutiques in Uxbridge, Bromley and Kingston as well as in the Bluewater, Brent Cross and Lakeside shopping centres.

A French Connection spokesperson told Drapers: “All stores are under review but we don’t have any concrete closure plans at the moment.”

French Connection's chief executive Stephen Marks said: “During the past year our wholesale, international and licensing businesses have performed well, however, in the most difficult winter season I have seen in all the years I have been in business, our UK retail division has been very disappointing and this has had a significant effect on our results for the year.”

He added: “In the light of the performance of the UK retail division we are reviewing our retail operations in order to improve sales and margin in this core business. We are very aware that there will be no quick solutions and that changes we make will take time to have an impact. We are working very hard on improving the performance of the retail stores, although clearly the state of the UK economy is not helping the position.”

Image: French Connection

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