Alexon posted a 14% slump in like-for-like sales for the 16 weeks to November 21 after its planned lower level of summer Sale activity affected footfall and sales in August and September.
The retailer, which owns the Ann Harvey, Dash, Minuet, Kaliko, Eastex and Alex & Co fascias, said like-for-like sales for the eight weeks to September 26 were down 16.9%, but there was a marked improvement in like-for-likes in the last eight weeks to November 21 with sales down 8.7%.
Alexon chief executive Jane McNally said: “We historically stay on Sale until the end of September and the customers expected that this year; it was probably too early to go back to a full-price proposition.”
Alexon said Minuet and Kaliko showed the most marked upturn since the end of the summer Sale period following a product overhaul for autumn 09. Eastex and Dash continued to trade strongly despite an unseasonably warm October.
Alex & Co continued to underperform, the group said, but added that the brand would be given a stronger focus next year with changes to product and branding.
Alexon said its turnaround strategy, announced in March 2009, remains on track and it said its multichannel offer is growing.
During the period, John Boyle was appointed group finance director. He will work closely with property and estates director Graham Seaton to review options regarding legacy leases.
Alexon expects trading to be tough in the run up to Christmas and into January. It said this is likely to adversely affect margins but the company’s financial position remains secure. Alexon remains positive that there is potential for future profit growth.
McNally added: “I don’t want to sound overly confident because we are not out of the woods yet but we are seeing a positive reaction to the changes we’ve made so we are cautiously optimistic for next year.”