Menswear specialist Moss Bros announced the retirement of its chairman on Wednesday as it reported an improvement in trading.
In an update for the 15 weeks to 12 May, the company said its overall performance has improved since its last update in March, with the anticipated recovery in stock availability on track and the stock position "much improved" from the early weeks of the year.
Total sales were down 2.4% on last year, while total like-for-like sales were 5.2% lower, both of which mark an improvement on 4.4% and 6.5% declines, respectively, in March.
Meanwhile, LFL retail sales including e-commerce were down 5.2%, a slight improvement on Mach's 6.7% drop, reflecting a recovery from the new season stock shortages. E-commerce sales continued to increase, up 11% on last year following a 4% increase in March. Moss Bros said total e-commerce sales now comprise 13% of total sales for the 15 weeks to date, compared with 11.5% for the same period a year ago.
Back in March, Moss Bros issued a profit warning due to problems with stock availability, weakness in hire sales and a reduction in store footfall amid a more cautious consumer environment.
Chief executive officer Brian Brick said: "Following a disappointing start to the year, our trading performance has, as anticipated, begun to improve, as a result of our improving stock availability. The wider trading environment however remains tough with a fragile consumer environment.
"We remain conscious of the economic headwinds which we face but will, as described in March, continue to invest in the areas that ensure we leverage our distinct position on the high street.
"We will shortly enter a key period of our trading year, with wedding season, school proms and Ascot. We are well placed with our core offer and levels of stock availability to maximise our share of our customers' spend."
Also on Wednesday, Moss Bros said that chairman Debbie Hewitt will retire from the company no later than May next year, on the ninth anniversary of her appointment.
The board will undertake a search for her successor over the next 12 months and ensure an effective handover.
Brick said: "Debbie is a talented chairman, who has built and led a high quality, diverse board, with a strong sense of purpose. The group has undergone an incredible transformation since she became chairman in 2009 and she has played an important role in galvanising the board through the early days of the turnaround and in providing the board leadership to create and drive our strategic agenda.
"She is a proactive chairman, who has continued to engage all stakeholders in the company's strategy throughout her tenure."
At 1030 BST, the shares
were up 13.4% to 53.36p.