High-street fashion retailer French Connection said it is lowering its 2006 predictions after Easter trading proved "difficult" and did not meet its expectations.

Same-store sales fell 2% in total in the UK and Europe since the start of the financial year, it said.

Wholesale orders for summer 2006 in the same market have been "subdued", the company said, while its forward order book for winter 2006 stands 12% lower than last year's.

North American wholesale has continued to flourish, but retail sales have been "disappointing" so far, it warned.

A spokeswoman for Brunswick, French Connection's investor relations advisor, told just-style that the company was confident it had now got its product right but that it accepts it will take a while "to get back consumer confidence" in its recently criticised fashion ranges.

"There have been really mixed results right across the market", she added, and concluded the company was taking a "very prudent" view for the rest of the year.

Although the company did not release full-year predictions to the market, analysts are reducing their estimations for its pre-tax profit from about GBP12m ($22.36m)to between £3m and £6m.

French Connection said in March its profit had more than halved during 2005, a year in which it admitted it had failed to hit on fashion trends and would cut down on the FCUK slogan, which has been branded "tacky and overused".