Discounting on the high street and “disappointing product” have been blamed for a pre-tax loss at East.
The 65-store womenswear retailer grew turnover 4.3% to £40.6m in the year to the end of January, but pre-tax profits fell dramatically from £2.27m the year before to a loss of £239,316.
In results filed on September 27, East said it had suffered from general poor trading, which had led to “significant discounting in a large proportion of clothing retailers” on the high street.
The business said it had been forced to bring its Sale forward earlier than expected, which ate into margins.
East also admitted its performance was affected by “some disappointing product” in autumn 11.
The business also opened nine stores and six concessions last year, although it is unlikely to reap the benefits before the end of the current financial year or 2013.
“The company is taking a prudent approach in relation to stock management and is intensifying its efforts to improve efficiencies and manage costs,” it said in a statement.
East could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press.