Moss Bros says results set to beat City forecasts

Suit hire specialist Moss Bros today said its full-year results were on track to beat market expectations after a surge in Christmas sales.

The firm said like-for-like sales for the five weeks to 11 January were up 12.9 per cent on the same period last year, and its board wanted to accelerate its dividend policy to hand more cash back to shareholders.

Chief executive Brian Brick said the board would be recommending a final dividend of 4.7p when it unveils its results for the year to 25 January, giving a total for the year of 5p. That compares with a 0.9p payout a year earlier, and is part of the firm’s medium-term aim to reduce its net cash position from about £28 million to £15m.

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Brick said: “We are encouraged by trading over the key Christmas trading period.

“The improved sales performance and continued strong cost management and rigorous clearance of stock, means that we will finish 2013-14 ahead of market expectations.”

Before today’s trading update, analysts had been expecting Moss Bros to post a pre-tax profit of about £3.15m when its results are published on 26 March.