The retailer said: 'Despite ongoing improvements in our assortment and very tight cost control, the company - like others in our sector - continues to find the retail environment challenging.' The retailer's performance will fall short of expectations for the year to November 3 and it is unlikely that an interim dividend will be paid.
Seymour Pierce analyst Richard Ratner said first quarter sales slid 4.3 per cent and he forecasts a loss of£1 million for this year and£500,000 for next year. He said: 'We expect the dividend to go in its entirety. If the company doesn't find a buyer, we cannot see how it can get out of its current hole.'