Beales’s like-for-like sales fell 4.5% in the 19 weeks to March 14, after the snow in February severely hampered trade.
Speaking at Beales annual general meeting yesterday chairman Mike Killingley said: “As reported at the end of January, we have renegotiated our banking facilities to secure a £9 million loan to February 2011. We have continued to operate well within these renegotiated facilities.”
Killingley added: “The year ahead will continue to be challenging, but the board believes the strategies and actions being taken will in due course restore the group to profitability.”
Beales saw like-for-like sales in the first quarter to January 31 fall back 3.2%, in line with company expectations. However, Beales said gross margin was lower than the previous year due to promotional discounting in response to the competitive pressures on the high street over Christmas.
Expenses were lower than last year, as Beales continued to focus on cost reduction.
Beales added that it had made further progress in improving own bought margins. In the first quarter own bought margin was four percentage points better than in the same period last year.