Alexon Group CEO Jane McNally has said today’s report that like-for-like (LFL) sales dropped by nearly 30 per cent between November 23rd and December 18th will not affect the company’s long-term recovery plans.
The fashion retail boss told Retail Gazette the slump in trading was “100 per cent weather related”, adding that the snow which has fallen across the UK in recent weeks will knock around £1.5 million off original profit expectations.
This performance would still represent an improvement compared to last year, however, as the company reported a small single digit loss at the end of the 2009 financial year.
Offering an example of how the icy conditions impacted sales at the group, which owns firms such as Ann Harvey, Kaliko and Eastex, McNally said group LFL sales were up by nearly ten per cent year-on-year in the week before the snow arrived but down 53 per cent on the first day of bad weather.
“Products bought from Alexon’s brands are usually considered purchases rather than last-minute gifts, meaning people will decide not to buy items when the weather is bad.
“Most Eastex customers are retired so are unlikely to head out when it is snowing, and I must admit I don’t blame them!
“Sales at Eastex were particularly affected by the bad weather, while Ann Harvey and Kaliko experienced small single digit trading deficits.”
With the icy conditions causing problems across the UK, including on most major transport networks, many consumers are calling for service providers to be better prepared for snowy weather.
Alexon will be taking action in the coming months, including appointing Giles Delafeld as E-Commerce Director at the end of January, which could put the retailer in a better position to deal with snowy conditions in the future.
McNally commented: “We are investing £750,000 in our e-commerce operation, making platform improvements and increasing marketing as part of these plans.
“By next Christmas we will have better ways of serving our customers.”