French Connection comparable sales rise 11 pct, shares jump

April 14 Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:41am EDT

April 14 (Reuters) - British fashion retailer French Connection Group Plc reported an 11 percent rise in like-for-like retail sales as its new product range was well received in UK and Europe, sending its shares to their highest since August 2011.

The company, best know for its FCUK brand of clothes and accessories, has been trying to turn around its business after years of weak sales in Britain's retail market.

French Connection had reported a 4.5 percent drop in UK and Europe like-for-like sales in the first half of last year, but a 1.4 percent jump in the second half.

The company said on Monday that comparable sales in the 11 weeks to April 12 continued the positive trend of the second half of last year.

French Connection announced plans last year to reduce inventory levels, redesign product ranges and increase the flexibility of its buying teams as well as reviewing pricing as part of a plan to restore the fortunes of its retail division.

Shares in the London-based company were up 11.9 percent at 75 pence at 0834 GMT on the London Stock Exchange. They touched a high of 77 pence in early trading in weak broader market. (Reporting by Aastha Agnihotri in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)