Alexon Group has become the second fashion retailer in as many days to issue a profit warning, as like-for-like sales slumped 7 per cent in the 18 weeks to December 1.

The fashion group, which runs chains Bay Trading, Alex & Co and Ann Harvey, said it had seen a “deterioration in sales performance in the past five weeks”. The group said that although Christmas trading would be critical to its full-year pre-tax profits, its profits were unlikely to reach levels expected by the market.

Alexon did say that gross margins were 1.7 per cent higher than last year and that stock levels had been kept lower than last year, which would help end the year with well controlled terminal stock.

“While next year is likely to prove equally challenging, we are confident that the measures taken in the past 12 months to strengthen our portfolio of brands will stand us in good stead for the future,” the retailer said.

Yesterday, menswear chain Moss Bros blamed tough trading conditions for a decline in footfall and sales, which it said may prevent it reaching its full-year forecast.