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Matalan cautious on retail outlook as Q1 sales fall


Fashion and homeware retailer Matalan saw total revenues fall 2.7 per cent year-on-year to £268.1 million in the 13 weeks ending May 28th 2011.

In a trading statement for its first quarter, released late yesterday, the company said that it maintains a cautious outlook for the remainder of the financial year after sales slowed considerably in the last two weeks of the period.

Although sales improvement was noted for July and online trading doubled compared to the same quarter last year, Matalan predicted there would be no real improvement in consumer spending this year and is instead banking on a better 2012.

The retailer’s key focuses at present are on developing a clearer customer proposition through product design and price, with this strategy expected to come to fruition next year.

Matalan also said a stabilisation of input cost prices and modest investment in new stores where opportunities exist will help place the business in a strong position to meet these targets.

Darren Blackhurst, who began his role as CEO of Matalan in May following the departure of Alastair McGeorge last November, said there are a number of reasons to remain positive about the future performance of the company.

“The brand has real equity with customers from a value perspective, there is considerable latent potential within our core business and the opportunity for future expansion remains,” he explained.

“Whilst we remain cautious about future trading, we will focus on giving our customers a relevant offering during these uncertain times.

“As such we have three clear priorities for this year - keeping prices as low as possible for our customers, investing in quality and design to bring customers the most fashionable products for less, and continuing to improve the shopping experience.”

Matalan’s Q1 trading statement also revealed that cash balances as of May 28th were up from £44.7 million to £76.7 million year-on-year.

Published on Wednesday 20 July by Editorial Assistant

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