Womenswear group Alexon Group has reported a pre-tax loss and said recent trading had been “challenging”.

The retailer, which owns businesses including Eastex, Ann Harvey and Dash, notched up a pre-tax loss of £8.1m in the 26 weeks to August 1, compared with a profit of £6.9m a year earlier. Like-for-likes fell 12.6% and turnover plunged 11%.

Alexon chief executive Jane McNally said the results were in line with expectations and said a new management team would help to revitalise their brands in the medium term.

“Trading since the half year has been challenging,” she said. “This is mainly as a result of our strategy to have less sales activity and partly due to the tough retail environment.

“However we believe that overall performance is stabilising and is being aided by some of our recent initiatives including the new store and concession refits as well as increased space.”

The retailer said it had improved its buying and was making good progress on medium-term goals, including refitting concessions in House of Fraser stores and the launch of a new Ann Harvey store format on Oxford Street.