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Mosaic Fashions retail sales up in H1 FY 2009
Oct '08
Mosaic Fashions reports 1st Half FY 2009 results for the period ended 26 July 2008.

• Total group sales level at £410m, up 5% excluding Whistles.
• EBITDA up 6% to £33.4m (H1 FY2008: £31.5m) representing 8% of sales, up 8% excluding Whistles.
• International sales up 14% to £79m (H1 FY2008: £69.5m) representing 19% of group sales on a statutory basis, and over 25% at retail.
• E-commerce sales up 85% to £13.6m, representing over 3% of group sales.
• Margin up 0.7% to 62.2%
• Long term borrowings reduced by £40.4m to £334.0m (FY2008: £374.4m).
• Total number of company owned stores and concessions up from 1,723 to 1,760 (excluding Whistles).

One of the Group's key strategies is to expand rapidly in international markets and this is delivering excellent results in tough economic conditions, with over 25% of retail sales now generated from outside the UK. The Group trades from 44 countries worldwide, opening in 7 new markets during the period including Egypt, Latvia and Gibraltar.

Karen Millen remains Mosaic's most international brand, closely followed by Oasis; however Warehouse and Principles are benefiting from the strong expertise in the Group with a fast growing international portfolio, particularly in Europe and Russia. Meanwhile Coast, having completed a successful trial in Bloomingdales in the Spring, is opening in a further 20 Bloomingdales stores this season. With the outlook in the UK remaining challenging, all brands are well positioned to increase their international sales.

Another key strategic initiative has been to rapidly expand our e-commerce proposition. Sales from this channel have grown by 85% from this time last year and now represent over 3% of group sales. In addition to each brand's own transactional website, Coast, Karen Millen, Oasis and Shoe Studio all successfully trade on ASOS, maximising the opportunity to introduce new customers to their brands.

Within the portfolio several brands have performed particularly strongly in 2008. The young fashion market remains more buoyant than other sectors and Warehouse has performed well throughout the season with a very strong product offer and solid organic growth as well as physical expansion in the UK and abroad. Oasis, after a difficult year last year, has shown a significant turnaround with the new team delivering substantial improvements to the range, encapsulated by the successful launch of several sub-brands, including Floral Frocks which generated significant media acclaim.

Karen Millen has had a very strong first half driven by excellent global growth, with international retail sales now over 48% of the brand's turnover. The last six months have seen the brand open a net 12 new international stores, including the official launch of the US flagship in the prestigious SoHo district of New York, and the launch of the Moscow flagship, the brand's 12th store in the country. Karen Millen continues to extend its global reach, opening in Azerbaijan, Jordan, Portugal and Romania so far this year.

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