Findel has warned that its full-year profits will be lower than expected after a tough third quarter and the impact of currency movements.  

The etailer, whose third biggest shareholder is Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, said it now expects profits to be £2m-£3m lower than forecast after difficult trading at its Express Gifts business.

Sales at the division, which accounts for 80% of profits, are up 2% since the end of September, but lower than the 2.7% growth over its first half.

In an unscheduled trading update, Findel said Express Gifts’ orders advanced 10% in December, but “a cautious approach to stock management for newer ranges led to a lack of availability in December which prevented this healthy demand being converted into sales.”

Meanwhile Findel said its Kitbag business is being treated as “discontinued” while talks are ongoing over its possible sale.

Findel has been engaged in a war of words with Sports Direct over a bid by the Mike Ashley-controlled retailer to get its own director appointed to the board of the group.

Speculation suggested that Sports Direct wanted to buy Kitbag and that its investment in Findel might be a move to stop the planned sale.

Findel said today group sales in the 17 weeks to January 22 rose 0.5%, with product sales for Express Gifts up 0.8% in the same period and up 1.3% for the financial year as a whole.

In November, the group reported flat half-year sales and profits.