Alexon Group said that full-year profits would come in below market expectations after like-for-like sales worsened to fall 14.3% over the 23 weeks to January 9.
Alexon, which owns the Alexon, Ann Harvey, Minuet, Dash, Kaliko and Eastex fascias, blamed the poor weather for its poor performance over the Christmas trading period and said that extreme weather conditions had kept its customers at home.
Gross margin was also eroded, falling 0.8% point from the previous year. Alexon said its continuing policy of minimising stock levels combined with increased promotional activity in department stores where it has concessions were behind the fall.
During the same period last year, Alexon posted a like-for-like sales drop of 10.5%.
However, Alexon said consumer reaction to the early phases of its spring 10 collections had been positive and added that sales of full-price stock continued to improve across all the brands season on season. Online sales for the group are also improving, both through Alexon’s own and its partners’ websites.
Alexon said 2010 would be challenging but said measures including addressing its onerous property leases would help the group to accelerate its turnaround plan.