French Connection profits fall as high street weakens

FCUKTroubled fashion brand French Connection has reported profit dips of 23% for the full year ending January 31 2008. The high street chain blames difficult economic conditions for the results and predicts a tough year ahead.

The company made a pre-tax profit of £3.1m and turnover fell by 2% to £236m. Like-for-like sales fell by 3% as improved sales in ladieswear was counteracted by a decline in menswear sales.

French Connection chairman Stephen Marks says: “This performance is clearly not good enough.” He adds: “In order to get our business back on track, we are reviewing all elements of our business to drive improvement.”

The group says revenues at the overall UK business were flat at £115.6m and current trading has been “lacklustre” since the end of the sales period.

Although French Connection reported profits of £38.7m in 2004, the retailer has struggled in recent years as consumers tired of its FCUK branding. The company says it has overhauled its design teams to improve menswear ranges, but the impact will not be felt till spring and summer 2009.

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