Department store group Allders on Thursday issued a profit warning and said like-for-like sales for the past seven weeks were down 5.1 per cent year-on-year.

The operator of around 40 stores said it expects full-year operating profits to slip around £2 million from £14.8m last year.

The country’s fourth biggest department store group endured a miserable first half with profits slumping 52 per cent to £10.2m but claimed the slide was due to actions taken to improve long-term profits.

Chief executive, Harvey Lipsith, said today: "Recent trading in our segment of the market has been extremely difficult as consumer confidence has wavered. Coming so close to the end of our financial year, it has left us with no scope to make up the shortfall.

"The board is confident actions taken to reposition the business are building real value for the future and that this year's shortfall against market expectations should be recovered in the next financial year."