Women’s wear retailer Alexon Group Plc today (21 December) issued a profit warning after extreme cold weather conditions in the UK hit sales in the key pre-Christmas trading period.

The company, whose brands include Ann Harvey, Eastex, Kaliko and Dash, said like-for-like sales in the three weeks to 18 December have tumbled by 19.9% - meaning its year to date like-for-like sales are down by 4.7%.

This is likely to wipe up to GBP1.5m off profit for its full-year which ends on 29 January.

The company said it had told its bank of the trading situation, and was talking with its lender over a possible infringement of one of its banking covenants.

Alexon Group has been hit particularly hard by the recent snow and freezing temperatures because it targets older shoppers who are less likely to brave the weather to shop.

The company has also been forced to close between 40 and 60 of its stores for several days in each of the last three weeks because of the adverse weather.

One bright spot has been online trading, with sales soaring by 129% during the period. However, the company made no mention of whether or not the snow and ice has disrupted deliveries of these items.