Value retailer's like-for-like sales slump
Like-for-like sales at discount fashion chain Matalan fell 7.4 per cent in the half year to February 25 and 6.9 per cent for the full year, as the downturn in the value fashion market continued to bite one of the sector's former leading lights.

Matalan expects full-year profits to be in line with analyst expectations at£55 million to£60 million.

Sales growth through new space also slowed from 6.3 per cent for the same period last year to 2.4 per cent. For the full year, new space growth was 3.5 per cent.

'The financial year has been characterised by a difficult trading environment,' according to the discount retailer, which added that trading since its last update in January was 'in line with the last 26 weeks'.

'Home has continued to disappoint, compounded by a poor performance from the Christmas gift ranges. Our move towards improving profitability has led to a reduced level of promotional activity with a consequent reduction in like-for-like sales. However, market share on clothing was maintained at 3 per cent,' Matalan said.

The company is focusing on gross margin, which was up 0.5 per cent in the 26 week period and up 1.6 per cent on clothing - offset by additional markdowns taken to clear underperforming Home ranges.

'Matalan is continuing to maintain its market share in clothing and is taking action to address the issues in its Home operations,' said chief executive John King.