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New ranges fuel optimism at Alexon

Like-for-like sales at Alexon fell 14% over the 16 weeks to November 21 but the womenswear brand house said it had experienced a better start to autumn on the back of its modernised product.

The womenswear group – which owns a variety of brands such as mainstream brands Eastex and Kaliko, casualwear brand Dash, plus-size offer Ann Harvey, petite-size brand Minuet and soft tailoring-focused Alexon (formerly Alex & Co) – posted an 8.7% drop in like-for-like sales for the eight weeks to November 21. This was a marked improvement on the previous two months, when sales fell 16.9% over the eight weeks to September 26.

Alexon chief executive Jane McNally said the comparative upturn in sales had been most pronounced in the Minuet and Kaliko brands. Sales at Eastex and Dash remained steady but the fascias suffered poor outerwear and knitwear sales during the warm October, while the core Alexon brand traded poorly.

“The high summer 09 collections were the first from the new team but weren’t immediately successful,” she said. “However, the autumn 09 collections have been well received, which bodes well for 2010.”

McNally joined Alexon as chief executive in June 2008 from value chain Peacocks to lead a turnaround of the business.

McNally added that the refitted Ann Harvey standalone stores in London Oxford Street and Welwyn Garden City had seen “high double-digit growth in like-for-like sales” in the eight weeks to November 21.

Alexon launched a transactional website 14 months ago and online sales helped to stem the sales decline over the period.

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