Fashion retailer French Connection slumped to a loss of £10.5 million, but offered a glimmer of hope that its revival plans are starting to pay off.

The chain said it was still early days but that changes to in-store operations and well-received spring and summer ranges indicated it was moving in the right direction after a 7% slide in UK sales last year.

With the UK and Europe division racking up losses of £16 million in the year to January 31, French Connection recorded an overall bottom-line loss of £10.5 million, against profits of £5 million a year earlier.

Founder and chief executive Stephen Marks, who has called conditions the worst he has known in 40 years of trading, said: "Although it is very early days in the new year, we have seen a better performance in UK retail, and we expect this to build as the year progresses."

The company has 74 stores in the UK and Europe, as well as licensed and wholesale operations around the world, including Hong Kong and China.

Shares were 8% higher following the results.