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QUIZ shares plunge after second profits alert of the year

Press Association
07 March 2019

Fashion retailer QUIZ has seen shares more than halve after warning over profits for the second time in as many months following plunging high street sales.

Shares in the group tanked by up to 56% at one stage as the group said sales across its 71 UK stores and 169 concessions tumbled 11.1% between 1 January and 28 February.

Online sales jumped 16.2%, but this was not enough to offset the high street gloom – and Quiz said it now expects group underlying earnings of around £4.5m for the full year.

This is down from the £8.2m forecast by the group in January, when it last warned on sales and profits after disappointing Christmas trading.

QUIZ also warned that full-year sales were now expected to come in at around £129m, with heavy discounting to shift stock set to affect its profit margins.

It said: “The uncertain consumer spending backdrop has remained challenging for QUIZ. As a result, the group has recorded a significant shortfall in sales compared to the board’s prior expectations.

“Furthermore, there has been a requirement to apply higher-than-anticipated discounts to clear excess stock.”

Chief executive Tarak Ramzan has now launched a review of “all aspects” of the business to combat the tough trading conditions. He will report back at the time of the full-year results in June.

He said: “This has been a highly disappointing trading period for the group. As a result, the board will be reviewing all aspects of the business over the coming months to ensure that we can deliver the group’s long-term potential despite the changing consumer backdrop and challenging trading conditions.”

The profit alert marks the second of 2019 so far, and the third in five months in a difficult start to life as a listed company. QUIZ shares have crashed 90% since its initial public offering price of 161p in July 2017, now languishing at less than 16p.

The stock tumbled 37% in one day last October, when it warned over profits due to poor sales from online partners and a £400,000 hit from the failure of House of Fraser.

Jonathan Pritchard, retail expert at Peel Hunt, said: “The business is now in day-to-day losses and with little strategic inspiration emerging with this profit warning, we can only assume that it will be a very long road to recovery.”

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