UPDATE 1-Moss Bros says UK school prom boom lifts sales
* Pretax profit before exceptional items rise to 3.0 mln pounds in 2012/2013
* Says confident can meet market expectations in 2013/14 despite slow start
LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) - Menswear retailer Moss Bros reported an increase in profit and sales last year, helped by the rising popularity of school proms in Britain, and said it was confident it could meet 2013 market expectations.
The suit specialist, which sells and hires out formal clothing through its Moss Bros Hire, Moss Bespoke, Moss Bros, and Savoy Taylors Guild brands, said demand for tuxedos and suits for school balls had supported hire sales.
The company said on a like-for-like basis, retail sales increased 4.1 percent during the year, while hire sales rose 3.1 percent.
Hire sales for weddings had been slow so far this year, due to an increasing trend of people booking later in the season, but this was expected this to improve, Moss Bros said.
"Although trading in the first seven weeks of 2013/14 is slightly below last year's levels, we remain confident that the business will continue to make good progress in 2013/14 and meet market expectations," the firm's chief executive Brian Brick said.
Pretax profit before exceptional items was 3.0 million pounds ($4.6 million) for the full year 2012/2013, compared with 0.9 million the previous year.
The company proposed a total dividend for the year of 0.9 pence per share for 2012, a 125 percent increase.
Set up in 1851, the suit chain currently has more than 130 stores in Britain.
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