Matalan warns of tough times ahead

RETAILER Matalan said yesterday it remained cautious on its outlook after reported a 63 per cent fall in earnings for the second quarter.

Ebitda – Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation – plunged to £13.6m in the 13 weeks to 17 August.

Matalan blamed the tough climate, promotional activity and higher input costs. Total revenue dropped 1.7 per cent to £258.5m. The retailer saw online sales double.

The retailer said that September started strongly, although this was hampered by the unseasonably hot and sunny weather in the last week.

For the 26 weeks to 27 August sales fell 1.7 per cent to £526.6m. Ebitda for the same period slumped 47 per cent from £77.1m to £41.2m.

Matalan said June was a “particularly difficult month” due to sales at competitors starting earlier than last year.

But the retailer said it started to see improvements in like-for-like trading in July after implementing its ‘Line & Price’ strategy. The improvement also continued into August.