Profits boost for French Connection

Shares in fashion retailer French Connection soared today after it said profits would be higher than its previous expectations despite the tough conditions on the high street.

Shares in fashion retailer French Connection soared today after it said profits would be higher than its previous expectations despite the tough conditions on the high street.

The company said pre-tax profits will be least £6.8m (€8m) in the year to January 31, which is comfortably ahead of City forecasts and previous guidance from French that profits would be between £2.6m (€3m) and £5.1m (€6m).

The profits surge is due to wholesale outlets and licensing, while its own stores, which account for about 55% of revenues, have performed in line with previous guidance in November, when sales were down by almost 8%.

The group posted bottom-line losses of £24.9m (€29.3m) in the previous year but restructured the business by taking measures including the sale of the loss-making Nicole Farhi brand and the closure of its Japanese business and some stores in North America and Europe.

The shake-up left French Connection with its UK and European retail and wholesale operations, the Great Plains wholesale-only ladieswear range and Toast, its mail-order fashion and homewares brand.

Shares rose 22% today as analysts upgraded their forecasts for this year and next.

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