Fashion group Alexon has warned that current trading is still weak after it posted flat total sales for the 26 weeks to July 28.

In the seven weeks to September 15, the retailer said its like-for-likes were down by 5 per cent on the previous year.

Alexon chief executive John Osborn said that for the seven-week period, gross margins were ahead of last year, but warned that the trading environment remains challenging.

Over the half year to July 28, Alexon’s brands division, which includes Ann Harvey and Kaliko, posted overall like-for-likes down 5 per cent, although Bay Trading delivered comparable sales up 1.2 per cent and its menswear arm Envy climbed 6 per cent.

However, Kaupthing analyst Matthew McEachran said that the much speculated upon disposal of Alexon’s menswear arm looked unlikely, given the state of the debt and equity market. “Envy continues to drag on the business when other Alexon Brands appear to be turning the corner,” he said.

Over the half year, Alexon’s operating profits shot up to£5.8 million from£3.1 million in the same period last year.