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Ecommerce provides comfort for profit-hit Alexon

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Women’s fashion retailer Alexon today said online sales were proving a source of growth – as the effects of extreme weather conditions on its store-based business prompted a profit warning.

The retailer said that snow and freezing temperatures had a “disproportionate effect” on a largely older customer base, while logistics problems meant that between 40 and 60 of its stores had been closed in each of the last three weeks.

As a result, like-for-like sales for the three weeks to December 18 fell by 19.9% compared to the same time last year. That, said Alexon in a trading statement issued today, was expected to hit full-year profits by up to £1.5m and could also mean that a bank covenant would be technically breached, although it remained comfortably within its agreed borrowing facilities.

But cheerier results came from its online division, which reported record trading with sales up by 129% in the three weeks, compared to the same time last year. The company said this tied in with its strategy of "building its multi-channel capabilities, through further developing its online and mail order partnerships."

"Looking ahead," it continued, "this strategy will help mitigate the impact poor weather conditions has on our business... Accordingly we remain confident in the medium and long term prospects for the business."

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