David Prosser: Alexon's warning is just the first of many

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The Independent Online

Outlook I said yesterday in this column that it would be wrong to expect the pain of the big freeze to be shared out equally across the retail sector, and the profits warning from Alexon underlines the point. This is a retailer that was finding life tough before the big freeze, and which has relatively under-developed internet and mail-order businesses. It was always going to struggle more than most once shoppers found themselves snowed in.

Even so, it is remarkable that we have had only one such profits warning so far. The scale of the setback at Alexon – a 20 per cent slump in sales – reveals just how hard the weather has hit the high street. Even if Alexon has fared twice as badly as any other stock-market-listed retailer, this will prove to be the first of several difficult unscheduled trading statements.