Monday 20 January 2020 4:28 pm

Matalan suffers sales and profit drop in challenging retail environment

Budget retailer Matalan suffered a drop in sales and profit at the end of last year as it fell victim to the challenges facing the UK high street.

The clothing and homeware brand said total revenue dropped to £311.7m in the 13 weeks ended 30 November, from £315.6m the previous year, as consumer confidence and spending was subdued in the face of political uncertainty. 

Earnings before tax, interest, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) fell from £40m in 2018 to £33.7m last year. 

The company said it had cash of £73.1m at the end of November, dropping from £91.2m. 

Meanwhile, in the peak festive trading period Matalan reported revenue of £134.3m, a 0.6 per cent increase on the previous year. 

In the five weeks to 4 January, the retailer said online sales grew 25 per cent, while Boxing Day sales entry volume was in line with last year. 

Matalan chief executive Jason Hargreaves said: “The challenges faced by ourselves and the wider market have been well documented and our results released today continue to reflect that backdrop.

“Consumer confidence and spending remained depressed in the midst of unprecedented levels of political uncertainty throughout the autumn/winter season.

“Following an extremely poor market in September, described by the BRC as the worst on record, the actions taken to further strengthen our proposition are starting to positively impact.

“The scale of margin investment required to manage stocks and trade effectively is reducing and I am confident this progress will continue as there will not be any material stock hangover.”

He said the company would remain “cautious in a tough market” but added that he is confident the business will have a stronger 2020.