Clothing retailer French Connection said it reduced half-year losses as it continues to push ahead with its turnaround, adding that there has been an encouraging reaction to its Winter collection.
The London-based firm reported a reduced loss before tax of £6.1m for the six month period ended July 31st compared to a loss of £6.3m in 2012. Revenue softened 6.4% to £89.9m, reflecting weaker demand at its wholesale business. Gross margin was down slightly.
"Our profit performance in UK/Europe retail overall showed progress from last year, although this was offset by a lower wholesale contribution in North America and reduced licence income," French Connection said in a statement.
The group said its performance in the UK was not helped by the overall market conditions which remain particularly volatile, but said it has noted an improving trend.
"We have recently launched the Winter collections and the reaction has been encouraging although it is still early in the season. With the recent improvement in the wholesale order books, the changes we have made are starting to resonate with our customers," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stephen Marks.
He added: "Although it is early days in our turnaround, the underlying strength of the business and the significant global awareness of the brand, coupled with the changes we are making provide the foundations for continued improvement and give me confidence for the future."
French Connection reported an improved cash position of £22.3m, with no debt and a significant reduction in stock levels.
"With the recent improvement in the wholesale order books, the changes we have made are starting to resonate with our customers."
AIM-listed technology-led engineering group Corac said it narrowed losses in the first half of its financial year, while a strong and growing order book underpins its confidence for a second-half performance in line with expectations.
The company, which provides services to the oil and gas, defence and industrial markets, said pre-tax loss reduced to £2.4m for the six months to June 30th from a loss of £3.8m the same period a year earlier.
Revenue increased £8.3m in the half-year to end-June from £4.3m previously while the group order book stood at £13.2m as at June 30th, down from £16.3m in 2012.
Phil Cartmell, Chief Executive Officer, said: "The board is pleased with the progress shown by the operating companies in the first six months of the year. The management changes have delivered immediate benefits and have strengthened the group for the second half year and beyond. The result is a more balanced business.
"With the growing maturity of the CET technologies, as demonstrated by the successful testing of the DGC, together with the value built in the two acquired businesses, the board believes the real value of the group is not reflected in the current share price, and is committed to closing this gap."
Year-end cash is anticipated to be in line with expectations.