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Monday, 11 March, 2002, 08:01 GMT
Moss Bros bags Versace expertise
Moss Bross storefront
Moss Bros: Revival strategy
Struggling menswear retailer Moss Bros gone upmarket to bolster its board, as it fights to see off a takeover approach from the entrepreneur behind Joe Bloggs jeans.

Moss Bros has snapped up Philip Mountford, UK managing director for fashion house Versace, as group managing director.

The appointment comes only three weeks after Adrian Wright, a former head at the giant Bluewater shopping centre, took over as Moss Bros chief executive.

And it follows repeated rejections by Moss Bros of overtures from Joe Bloggs founder Shami Ahmed.

Deadline set

Mr Ahmed latest snub came on Thursday, when Moss Bros directors dismissed his latest approach over "uncertainty" concerns, including doubts over whether cash was available to back it.

"If the prospective offeror has financing, it should make a formal offer," Moss Bros chairman Keith Hamill said.

"Otherwise it should let the company get on with its job."

UK takeover chiefs on Friday gave Mr Ahmed until 5 April to make a formal bid.

Turnaround plan

The rumpus follows a difficult time for Moss Bros, which last year reported its first annual loss for 25 years.

Sales at the firm, which owns the Cecil Gee brand and runs outlets under the Moss Bros, Canali and Hugo Boss names, were hit by the economic slowdown.

Mr Mountford said he had "full confidence" in the turnaround strategy being pursued by Mr Wright.

"Moss Bros have some exceptional brands and retail sites and I look forward to working with the rest of the management team to help realise the value of the business," Mr Mountford said.

Moss Bross shares stood unchanged at 37.5p in early trade on Monday.

See also:

19 Feb 02 | Business
Takeover row brews at Moss Bros
18 Feb 02 | Business
Moss Bros turns down bid
02 Oct 00 | Business
Moss Bros racks up loss
26 May 00 | Business
Moss Bros to axe stores
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