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Merchant Retail Gp (MRT)

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Wednesday 19 January, 2005

Merchant Retail Gp

Trading Statement

Merchant Retail Group PLC
19 January 2005


19 JANUARY 2005


                           MERCHANT RETAIL GROUP PLC
        (The Specialist Perfumery Retailer and Department Stores Group)

                          EXCELLENT GROUP PERFORMANCE

             TRADING STATEMENT ON 8 AND 41 WEEKS TO 8 JANUARY 2005

   • The Perfume Shop

- Like for like sales +6% in the 8 week period
- Like for like sales +6% in the 41 week period
- Overall sales +16% in the 41 week period

   • Joplings

- Like for like sales +1% in the 8 week period
- Like for like sales +7% in the 41 week period

   • De Gruchy

- Like for like sales +1% in the 8 week period
- Like for like sales +2% in the 41 week period

Merchant Retail Group plc is pleased to report another strong group performance.

Group sales for the 8 weeks to 8 January 2005 were up 8% on the same period last
year and 5% up on a like for like basis. In the 41 weeks to 8 January 2005,
overall Group sales were ahead 11% against the same period last year and 6% up
on a like for like basis.


The Perfume Shop

The Perfume Shop has continued to prove its resilience in a challenging trading
environment. The 111 branches delivered a strong overall sales increase of 13%
for the 8 weeks and 6% on a like for like basis in spite of problems with the
new EPOS system. Like for like sales in the 41 weeks to 8 January 2005 were up
6% with overall sales for the period up 16%.

Joplings

Joplings like for like sales were up 1% in the 8 weeks and 7% in the 41 weeks to
8 January 2005.

A significant sales contribution was achieved but at a cost to margin that
reflects the closing down sale principally at Tynedale Park which will cease
trading at the end of January.

De Gruchy

Like for like sales at de Gruchy were up 1% in the 8 weeks and 2% in the 41
weeks to 8 January 2005.

Outlook

The December performance was in line with our expectations and although the full
year performance will be subject to the outcome of the final phase of the
Joplings disposal, we are confident in the strength of our underlying
businesses.


Note
1. 'Sales' includes concession sales on a gross basis.



For further information please contact:

Philip Newton, Chief Executive                                    01494 894 000
Ann-marie Wilkinson, Bell Pottinger                               020 7861 3232




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