'‹'‹'‹The group said like-for-like sales fell 7 per cent across the UK and Europe in "difficult trading conditions".'‹Stephen Marks, chairman and chief executive of French Connection, said: "I am pleased that the changes we have made around the business over the last couple of years continue to move us forward."There is no doubt that progress has not been helped by the trading conditions in which we operate in the UK, although we can take great confidence from the performance of the wholesale business and the stability of the licence income."The order books we have provide a clear outlook for the second half of the year in wholesale although retail continues to be challenging."We remain on target to return the business to profitability this year and we will be doing everything we can to ensure that happens."The group saw wholesale revenues rise 6.2 per cent, or 8.9 per cent with currency movements stripped out.'‹On a statutory basis, pre-tax losses rose to '‹Â£15m '‹in'‹ the six months to July 31, up from losses of Â£6m a year earlier.'‹T'‹he Â£15.1m figure includes two exceptional categories'‹, namely p'‹rovisions for bad debts of Â£2.8m and provisions for onerous leases of Â£6.8m. However, it doesn’t include the exceptional profit on the sale of Toast of Â£9.3'‹m. '‹The group said it is on course'‹ to return to profitability at the year-end.