Womenswear group Alexon, owner of chains including Ann Harvey and Kaliko, revealed profits will fail to meet expectations after Arctic weather disrupted peak trading.

The retailer said like-for-like sales plummeted 19.9% in the three weeks to December 18, bringing the year to date decline to 4.7%, and about £1.5m will be wiped from profits.

Alexon may suffer a technical breach of its EBITDAR convenant, but said its bank has been “constructive and supportive” following the trading difficulties.

Alexon’s chains appeal mainly to older customers and the recent snow and freezing temperatures had a “disproportionate effect on sales”. The severe weather also meant that in each of the last three weeks between 40 and 60 of the group’s outlets were closed.

The retailer’s online sales soared 129% in the three weeks to December 19. Alexon said: “We remain confident in the medium and long term prospects for the business.”