French Connection Group PLC (LON:FCCN) shares rose on Friday as the clothing retailer said trading has been “encouraging” since its stores in England and Wales reopened on December 2 following the end of the second UK lockdown caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a trading update, the company said trading in the early part of its second half was “in line” with expectations, however, it suffered declines in footfall in September due to tightening restrictions during the second wave of COVID-19, a situation that has been compounded by full closure in November as the second lockdown began.
However, French Connection said its ecommerce channels were continuing to “trade positively” despite adopting a less promotional stance compared to last year, adding that its wholesale business has also performed well with its major online customers continuing to trade and take deliveries. The company also said orders for Spring 2021 were ahead of its expectations.
Looking ahead, the firm said while it expected there to be “considerable challenges” going forward due to COVID-19 and Brexit uncertainty, it felt it is “well-positioned to capitalise on any opportunities that arise”.
The company also said its US business had secured US$6.5mln in additional funding through the main street lending programme to support its American operations and employees. The loan is for five years and will provide enough working capital for the group’s US operations, which are predominantly wholesale.
Shares in French Connection jumped 14.7% to 11.5p in early deals.