Share Name Share Symbol Market Type Share ISIN Share Description
French Connection Group Plc LSE:FCCN London Ordinary Share GB0033764746 ORD 1P
  Price Change % Change Share Price Shares Traded Last Trade
  -1.60p -3.69% 41.80p 58,603 16:35:03
Bid Price Offer Price High Price Low Price Open Price
41.60p 42.00p 42.20p 42.20p 42.20p
Industry Sector Turnover (m) Profit (m) EPS - Basic PE Ratio Market Cap (m)
General Retailers 154.00 -2.30 -2.70 40.4

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Date Time Title Posts
30/4/201923:25*** French Connection ***1,181
20/2/201715:45FCUK ME IM BUYING IT541
02/12/201511:58FCCN Delicious @23p-24p6
05/1/201508:52Could this company come back into fashion?2
18/9/201422:29FRENCH CONNECTION III137

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French Connection Daily Update: French Connection Group Plc is listed in the General Retailers sector of the London Stock Exchange with ticker FCCN. The last closing price for French Connection was 43.40p.
French Connection Group Plc has a 4 week average price of 42.20p and a 12 week average price of 36p.
The 1 year high share price is 64p while the 1 year low share price is currently 36p.
There are currently 96,612,934 shares in issue and the average daily traded volume is 12,351 shares. The market capitalisation of French Connection Group Plc is £40,384,206.41.
lomcovaks: Joules, Paul covered the HoF situation in his daily small cap report of the 14th August. hxxps:// I know he occasionally reads these boards so I do hope that he won't mind my copy and pasting the relevant section here for the interest of members who may not subscribe to the Stockopedia article. It's free and a wonderful resource for investors:- French Connection (LON:FCCN) Share price: 48.1p (+0.4%) No. of shares: 96 million Market cap: £46 million A brief comment from me on the situation re French Connection (LON:FCCN) and its exposure to House of Fraser. This has been a known issue for some time, for people who understand the business. FCCN has concessions (a store within a store) in department stores, including House of Fraser. These are typically small operations, with minimal staff and little stock. The way concessions work is that all sales are "banked" through House of Fraser's EPoS system. HoF then sits on the money for, I am told, about 2.5 months. As HoF has been on the brink of going bust for some time, it was worth working out the potential liability to FCCN. Thankfully, a retail FD friend of mine worked out the figures some time ago. He reckoned there was a potential bad debt to FCCN of about £2m (probably less), if/when HoF went bust. Since HoF went into Administration, then that crystallises the loss for FCCN and other concessions. Mike Ashley would not be paying those debts as part of his acquisition, as pre-Administration trade payables are unsecured creditors, hence usually are paid nothing in this type of insolvency. How is the £2m estimated bad debt for FCCN worked out? Estimated 40 concession sites within HoF stores. Estimated annual turnover per concession of £200k Giving £8m estimated annual revenues for FCCN from its HoF concessions. Assume the bad debt is perhaps 3 months takings, arriving at an estimate of £2m bad debt for FCCN. That's not material, since FCCN has a market cap about £46m, and has substantial net cash - so it can afford to write off a £2m bad debt without any consequences. FCCN will also have to write-off fixtures & fittings related to its HoF concessions, or at least the ones that are to be closed. This again will not be material, and is non-cash, so not a problem. The inventories within HoF stores remain FCCN's property, and if necessary can be moved to other FCCN sites, so there should not be any write-offs relating to inventories. Going forwards, this might prove a nice opportunity for FCCN to accelerate the reduction of its heavily loss-making retail division. So I feel that, once the dust has settled, the market might actually see this as a positive. To reiterate, the sooner the FCCN retail stores are closed, the better, as they lose money hand over fist! The value in the business is the profitable wholesale & brand licensing divisions. It amazes me that this is so obvious, yet "the market" seems oblivious to it. There was a takeover approach last year, which must have been serious, since the board apparently spent several months assessing it & allowed the potential acquirer to do due diligence. It's only a matter of time before the business is sold, because the founder/chairman is into his 70's now, and must be looking for an eventual exit (otherwise he wouldn't have engaged with the potential acquirer last year). I've worked out that FCCN has several stores which are literally black holes for cash, in terms of losses. The leases on these should soon expire. That means that profitability should make a step change upwards. That's what's interesting about this cash-rich company. The brand is still very valuable, and I'm hoping for an eventual payout here of 100-200p, on a trade sale. This special situation is certainly one for patient investors only! I'll be insufferable when the payday does finally come, lol! The recent share price softness, presumably on worries over HoF, looks overdone to me, so if it goes much lower, I'll be topping up. But it's already one of my biggest long positions, so maybe it's not wise to tie up too much cash in this one? I imagine there is likely to be an RNS from FCCN very soon, detailing the cash losses due to HoF insolvency. It should also give us some detail on the non-cash write-offs (e.g. F&F), plus an update on what's happening going forwards. I imagine this is likely to say that some HoF concessions will continue, but some will be closed. They'll obviously only keep the profitable ones, and this is a nice opportunity for FCCN to re-negotiate terms with Mike Ashley, on a take it or leave it basis (giving him a taste of his own medicine!). Therefore FCCN should emerge with a more profitable concessions operation after this process has been completed. Hence I'm rather looking at this as glass half full, rather than glass half empty.
clarea: Hi anyone any views on recent share price weakness, I can't find any gossip or rns to give an idea. The only thing I can think of is the fallout from House of Fraser being the latest retailer to be on the skids has had a knock on effect. Any others views/thoughts welcomed.
jaykaytee: Interesting that the share price by over 10% yesterday...just a day before these positive results were released. Maybe the FCA should be looking in to these purchases. Insider trading?
smicker: Womenswear up 5% in the John Lewis results released today. Not sure just how relevant but not bad news anyway given recent share price weakness here
walbrock82: The cash position was a bit surprising and helped buffer the share price. I don't know why FCCN release like-for-like sales growth figure when the business is shrinking the retail division. Also, it reports underlying losses of £10m. For me, the big improvement is operating cash loss shrink from £7m to £1m.
she-ra: I imagine Ashley will be selling some today to prevent the share price rising. I presume he will not want the share price going up much.
srpactive: The last time we had talk of a revolt the share price rose swiftly higher, I am expecting the same here but no retrace just a surge towards 50p. The first revolt and failure can be accepted, but if you do it twice, you either win or look a complete fool, this is where we are now. dyor regards active
srpactive: Dear oh dear, I am a shareholder, I have bought in a little higher and more recently at 33p. I think the share price will be a lot higher in a few months but am just expecting a little weakness before. Now lets keep the thread sensible. dyor regards active
multiplural: I like reading Gatemore's letter copied in the article in the Guardian. Especially this: Deep Value. At last week’s closing price of 34.5p, French Connection shares trade at a current EV/Sales of 0.1 and a Price/Book of 0.6 (source: Bloomberg). By comparison, the FTSE 350 General Retailers Index, which averages only 4.7% operating margins, trades at EV/Sales of 0.8 and Price/Book of 2.1 (source: Bloomberg). If French Connection is able to bring its profit margins towards sector norms for 2017-18, then we believe a 150p share price should be achievable by the end of 2017. In 2014 when investors believed FC would be above break-even for the year, the Company’s share price rose above 90p. This demonstrates how quickly investors can respond to positive developments.
paulypilot: Hi webpax & TMFMayn, Interesting points, thanks. I think the analysis about totally up lease liabilities is erroneous. The only thing that matters is whether you trade at a profit or loss from a shop. The rent doesn't matter, it's the profit/(loss) that matters. A shops which makes a good profit might have millions of pounds of rental payments due in future years, but it's meaningless to look at those liabilities in isolation, and ignore all the revenue that you will generate from that shop in future too. FCCN is on track to make an overall loss of between £4-5m this year, due to the poor H1 (outlook for H2 is better). H2 is profitable historically, and H1 loss-making, a lot of investors miss that point, and sell after the interims, thinking that things are going downhill, then the full year figures end up looking alright. The shop leases are gradually expiring (they are usually 15 years at inception), and I don't think FCCN has opened any significant new shops since about 2007. So they should be coming near to the end of the leases on loss-making shops. When the lease expires, you just hand it back to the landlord, and walk away, therefore the trading losses disappear. Over the next 5 years, the retail division losses from FCCN should melt away, as problem shop leases expire. That is the opportunity here. Taking off all rental liabilities from the net current assets is a nonsensical way to analyse the figures. What we should be doing, is to calculate what the trading losses will be over the next 5 years, and deduct that from the big profits made by wholesale & licensing. What we should then see is a highly profitable business gradually emerge over the next few years, providing they also cut overheads as the retailing side of things shrinks. I annnotated this chart from the last full year results. Screenshot: So 2015/16 figures are likely to be very similar to the 2014 column. If you eliminate the retail losses, which will happen automatically as the leases expire, then you are left with a wholesale business making £11.7m profit, licensing making £6.1m profit, less overheads of £11.3 - which could perhaps be cut by say half, if the retail division is eliminated altogether, so reduced to £5.8m overheads. That would give a potential future overall level of profits of £12m p.a. I think the market would value that at say £100-200m. That's a share price of 104-208p, and remember this assumes no improvement in trading - it simply assumes that the retailing division is closed down. The upside case from there, is that the retailing side improves somewhat, and only some shops have to be closed, leaving a smaller, but profitable retail side. Hence we could be looking at a share which has the potential to 5-10 bag over the next few years from the current level, based purely on problem shop leases expiring. I reckon the problem leases could actually be concentrated into just a few shops - especially the Oxford Street store, which has a rent of over £3m p.a. That shop alone must be absolutely haemorraging cash. Yet it's a prime unit, opposite Selfridges. So who knows, we could get an RNS any time saying they've done a deal to exit the lease, maybe even for a premium, who knows? Sites in Oxford Street are highly prized. When Bond Street crossrail opens, the FCCN site on Oxford Street will be absolutely prime location, so that's another reason to believe it could end up being an asset, not a liability. Bottom line is this - FCCN is absolutely not going bust - there is enough balance sheet strength for it to survive whilst the problem leases gradually expire, and hence losses reduce. It can weather this storm, and has a big tailwind of leases expiring - the average is only about 5 years remember, so this is a ring-fenced problem, and the brand is still very powerful - evidenced by the continued good licensing revenues, and strong wholesale profits. DFS furniture now has a range of FCCN sofas on its website: This is evidence that the brand is not at all washed up, it's still an aspirational brand in consumer eyes & minds. Just because they can't make standalone stores work, doesn't mean the brand itself is tarnished. It's just that the product is too expensive to retail profitably from standalone sites, as is the case for many medium to upper brands. The High Street rents + rates are too high now for this type of product, it can't be sold in enough quantity on the High Street. But it works well in independent stores, and Dept Stores - hence why the wholesale division is decently profitable. It's a pity they can't just do a pre-pack Administration with the retailing division. I've been buying more today, as the market doesn't really understand this stock, and it's wildly under-priced in my view. Regards, Paul.
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