French Connection reports loss as sales fall

Fashion chain French Connection has reported a half-year loss after sales fell during what it described as a “very difficult” six months.

The firm reported a loss of £6.3m for the six months to 31 July, down from a £700,000 profit last year.

Revenues fell by 7% to £96m, while UK and European sales, which account for half its revenue, fell 9.5%.

The retailer announced plans to revive its UK stores but said the recovery would “take some time”.

“The last six months have continued to be very difficult for French Connection’s UK/Europe retail business, which has had an impact on the group results for the period,” said chairman and chief executive Stephen Marks.

French Connection said it had completed a review of its retail business and was implementing reforms aimed at improving its product range and the operation of its stores.

The retailer added that it would continue to try to dispose of loss-making stores.

Many retailers in the UK have been struggling to grow sales, with the economy in recession and consumers under pressure from low wage increases and worries over job security.

French Connection said it was “not expecting any improvement in the UK retail trading environment in the second half of the year”.

“We recognise that the route to sustained recovery is likely to take some time,” it added.

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