Alexon hit in sorry summer

SHARES in fashion retailer Alexon slumped nearly a quarter yesterday after it posted a profit warning, despite revealing it was in talks over a takeover.

The firm, whose brands include Ann Harvey, Eastex, Kaliko and Dash, said yesterday it has been in discussions with more than one suitor as it reported that sales at stores open over a year fell nine per cent in the first three weeks of August. It has not yet received a bid, however.

Alexon blamed “very difficult retail and economic conditions” for its disappointing summer, which comes after analysts warned of shoppers cutting back on non-essential spending during an uncertain economic climate.

The decline in Alexon’s sales eased in the final week of August, it said, with revenue down one per cent on a like for like basis.

The firm warned that its annual performance will be “well below” expectations but it clung to better figures from its website, were sales were up 118 per cent in the first half, and the results of its Kaliko and Alexon brands, which it said achieved “double digit” like for like sales growth.

Total sales for the half year to July 30 were down eight per cent.

Earlier this summer Alexon said its Dash and Minuet brands had been hit by cotton price inflation.

Yesterday’s figures sent Alexon’s already struggling shares into a tailspin, closing down 28.6 per cent at 5p.