French Connection to close 8 stores including Regent Street shop

French Connection has said it will vacate its loss-making Regent Street store and close another seven unprofitable UK shops, while also announcing a hike in sales across the group.

French Connection: to close eight stores, including Regent Street shop
French Connection: to close eight stores, including Regent Street shop

The company said in a trading update for the 16 weeks ending 21 November that sales had continued to be strong over the period, after a "promising start to the season".

Like-for-like sales in the UK/Europe were up 0.6%, a marked improvement on the same period last year, when they fell 6%. The company’s gross margin also grew, up 1.5% on last year.

The group said that it is continuing to rationalise its store portfolio, and expects to close seven "non-contributing stores" during the second half of the year.

In addition, and "due to the redevelopment of the [Regent Street] building", it will close its Regent Street store at the end of March next year. The closure will see French Connection receive a £2.4m compensation payment and eliminate the losses currently being made by the outlet.

Stephen Marks, French Connection’s chief executive and chairman, said: "I am pleased to report that the performance of the group has improved considerably compared to the first half of the year, particularly in the UK/Europe retail stores and while we still have the all-important Christmas period to come, we expect the results for the full year to be in line with market expectations."