French Connection Group swung to a £17.4m pre-tax loss last year despite increasing advertising expenditure in the UK last year.
The loss for the year to January 31 wipes out the £3.1m profit the retail group registered a year earlier.
The group, which owns the French Connection, Nicole Farhi and Toast retail brands, says that despite the loss retail sales in the UK and Europe increased 2% on a like for like basis, driven by a 9% boost in ladies’ wear revenues.
However, a dip in North American sales partly off-set any gains elsewhere, down 3% on a like for like basis.
Costs across the group’s retail and wholesale divisions increased £1m to £6.7m partly driven by an increase in advertising spend.
Stephen Marks, chairman of the group, says: “The results for last year are disappointing and, to a large extent, are a reflection of the impact on fashion markets of the down-turn in the major world economies and in particular the US market.”