Fashion retailer French Connection Group Plc has issued its second profit warning in three months blaming "disappointing" trading over the Christmas period.

The company, which ended its financial year on 31 January, now says it expects pre-tax profit to be in the region of GBP4.7m (US$7.4m) including a one-off exchange gain of GBP0.7m.

"Trading in our retail stores in UK/Europe was disappointing in the early part of the autumn/winter season and this continued through the Christmas trading period," it said in a statement. "The effect of this has been to negate the growth in like-for-like sales achieved in the first half of the year and to cause the gross margin to be lower than expected."

It added that wholesale deliveries in the second half of the year "have shown good growth over the previous year and the forward orders for the spring/summer season are ahead of this time last year."

And its international operations and brand licensing partners "continue to perform strongly."

The  group is due to report its full-year results on 14 March.