Profits boost for French Connection

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Shares in fashion retailer French Connection have soared

Shares in fashion retailer French Connection have soared after it said profits would be higher than its previous expectations despite the tough conditions on the high street.

The company said pre-tax profits would be least £6.8 million in the year to January 31, which was comfortably ahead of City forecasts and previous guidance from French that profits would be between £2.6 million and £5.1 million.

The profits surge is due to wholesale outlets and licensing, while its own stores, which account for about 55% of revenues, have performed in line with previous guidance in November, when sales were down by almost 8%.

The group posted bottom-line losses of £24.9 million in the previous year but restructured the business by taking measures including the sale of the loss-making Nicole Farhi brand and the closure of its Japanese business and some stores in North America and Europe.

The shake-up left French Connection with its UK and European retail and wholesale operations, the Great Plains wholesale-only ladies wear range and Toast, its mail-order fashion and homeware brand.

Shares have risen 22% as analysts upgraded their forecasts for this year and next.

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