Buoyant French Connection to quit Regent Street

french connection aw15 ad

French Connection AW15 ad

Is French Connection out of the woods yet? Maybe, just maybe. The group, which has struggled for some time, has just issued a trading update and the 16 weeks to November 21 looked pretty healthy (well, compared to previous periods it did).

OK, it’s not quite on a Primark-style growth curve but sales of the French Connection AW15 collection continued to be strong during the period after a promising start to the season.  Comp sales for UK/Europe retail rose 0.2%. That may not sound brilliant but a year ago those same comps dropped 6.1% and while the company may not have made up for that fall just yet, it’s on its way. Importantly too, full-price comps were up 6% and the gross margin rose 1.5% as the full-price sales mix increased.

Licensing went from strength-to-strength too. The company recently extended its successful furniture license with DFS for another five years and it’s in on-going talks covering a number of other product categories.

On the retail front, the company is continuing to shed unprofitable stores and will close a further seven in the second half. That’ll mean a change after many years at Oxford Circus – French Connection is leaving its extra-large site at the top of Regent Street at the end of March and will gain £2.4m in the process, as well as stemming losses from the store.

french connection aw15 ad 2

French Connection AW15 ad

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