Moss Bros to beat profit forecasts after Christmas sales surge

LONDON Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:26am EST

LONDON Jan 14 (Reuters) - British suit specialist Moss Bros said it expected to post a full-year profit ahead of market expectations after a surge in sales over the Christmas period.

The firm, which sells and hires out formal clothing, said sales at stores open over a year jumped 12.9 percent ahead of the same period a year ago for the five weeks to Jan. 11.

"The improved sales performance and continued strong cost management and rigorous clearance of stock, means that we will finish 2013/14 ahead of market expectations," the firm's Chief Executive Brian Brick said in a statement on Tuesday.

Prior to the update analysts had on average expected the firm to post a pretax profit of 3.15 million pounds ($5 million) for the full-year to Jan. 25, according to a Reuters poll.

The group also said on Tuesday it would pursue an accelerated dividend policy in order to reduce its net cash position from an expected 28 million pounds at the year end to 15 million pounds over the medium term.

Moss Bross said it would pay a final dividend of 4.7 pence per share with its full-year results to Jan. 25, making a total dividend of 5.0 pence per share for the year.

That compares with 0.9 pence per share for the year in 2013.

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