Fashion retailer Lindex Group suffered a dive in profit of almost 50% during its first quarter's trading, which it blamed on weakness in Germany and an unsatisfactory reaction to its summer ladies' wear.

Quarterly net profit totalled SEK97m (US$14.26m), which compared to SEK188m last year. Sales, meanwhile, were SEK1.29bn during the quarter, which marked a 1.4% decrease from last year's SEK1.31bn.

Lindex's president and CEO Göran Bille said sales had been good in Sweden and that there had also been "a positive development" in the children's wear and lingerie divisions.

According to Bille, sales were partly hurt by "a lack of change-over garments between the summer and autumn seasons at the beginning of the autumn."

He added: "A strong brand makes us less influenced by external factors such as the weather.

"We will, therefore, continue our investment aimed at further strengthening our positions as a fashion company."

Lindex announced at the start of this month it would shed its chain of 23 German stores after they failed to meet expectations. It hopes to close the sale of the stores in the 2006/07 financial year.

The company sees more potential in Eastern Europe. Baltic ventures have been "extremely successful", Bille says.

Lindex is planning to open stores in the Czech Republic during the next financial year.

It currently has a chain of about 350 stores in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Estonia and Latvia, with business areas including lingerie, ladies' wear, children's clothing and cosmetics.