The retailer said the expected lift in sales after a poor summer did not happen, because prices were driven down. It said in a statement: 'Following the seasonal difficulties experienced during the second quarter, the company had expected some recovery after the summer. However, a generally disappointing Christmas on the high street, compounded by a trading environment increasingly characterised by grocery price deflation and increased competition in the convenience sector, meant that this did not materialise.' The retailer's net debt for the 39 weeks to the end of the year was£262 million. The result will be cold comfort to Baugur, whose 95p-a-share bid offer is expected to be put to a shareholder vote on January 21.