September 18, 2014 / 8:13 AM / 3 years ago

French Connection says cautious about Christmas trading

(Reuters) - Fashion retailer French Connection Group Plc (FCCN.L) reported a 10 percent fall in retail revenue and said it remained cautious about the second half of the year as it was very dependent on the Christmas trading period.

Shares in the company, which has been attempting a turnaround after years of underperformance, fell more than 13 percent in early trading, making the stock one of the top percentage losers on the London Stock Exchange on Thursday.

“Given the very competitive market place and tougher LFL (like-for-like) comparatives in the period, we remain cautious about trading in the second half. As ever we are dependent on the very important Q4 period,” the company said in a statement.

Group revenue fell 6.6 percent to 84 million pounds in the six months ended July 31, primarily due to the closure of non-contributing stores.

The company, best known for its FCUK brand of clothes and accessories, said retail revenue fell 10.6 percent to 49.9 million pounds due partly to increased discounting and extremely cold weather in the early part of the year in North America.

French Connection gets about a quarter of its revenue from the United States.

Pretax loss narrowed to 3.9 million pounds ($6.4 million) from 6.1 million pounds last year.

The London-based company, whose competitors include SuperGroup Plc (SGP.L) and Ted Baker Plc (TED.L), shut four non-contributing stores during the period and said it planned to close 3-4 more stores in the second half.

French Connection did not announce an interim dividend but said it would review its dividend policy at the year end.

Shares in the company were down 7.1 percent at 65 pence at 0806 GMT.

Reporting by Roshni Menon and Aastha Agnihotri in Bangalore; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath

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