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Wednesday, April 1, 1998 Published at 09:43 GMT 10:43 UK



Business

Controversial advert boosts French Connection
image: [ The old adage 'All publicity is good publicity' was never more apt than for the French Connection advert ]
The old adage 'All publicity is good publicity' was never more apt than for the French Connection advert

A controversial advertising campaign helped fashion retailer French Connection buck the trend in the High Street and increase profits.

Its 'f.c.u.k.' campaign - which was criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority - generated massive publicity for the company.

It has been credited with playing a key role in a big rise in sales and profits at the group last year.

Profit before tax for the year to January 31 was £8.2m, up from £6.2m in the previous year, and sales were up from £82.9m to £93.6m.

Non-executive Chairman David Bernstein said: "The group's turnover and profits reached record levels in the year to January 1998. This was due to the strength of our products which were backed by a successful advertising campaign."


[ image: The Advertising Standards Authority was not happy with the advert]
The Advertising Standards Authority was not happy with the advert
The 32% rise in group profits included a 72% rise in UK retail and wholesale profits, an improvement credited to the product range and "an outstanding advertising campaign".

Mr Bernstein, who recently took over as Chairman of struggling Manchester City Football Club, said: "Our UK performance was particularly strong, as both our retail and wholesale businesses turned in outstanding performances.

"The prospects for the rest of the year look exciting."

A strong performance in the UK, where the company employs 800 people, more than compensated for tough conditions in America and the Far East.

Conditions in the British High Street are considered poor at the moment. Last week Next issued a profits warning and Verdict Research produced a downbeat survey of the clothing retail sector.






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