Cupid fires off loss warning

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The Independent Online
Shareholders in Cupid, the Pronuptia bridal-wear and Youngs formal-wear group, face an unhappy St Valentine's Day tomorrow, after the company warned of substantial losses for the year to 31 March.

Cupid said it was in talks with a group of investors for an equity injection into the company. Richard Lee, chairman and acting chief executive, said he expected these discussions to be concluded 'sooner rather than later'.

Mr Lee took over the management of the group in December at the interim results, when Michael Murray, the founder, resigned after a boardroom row.

The company made a loss of pounds 168,000 before tax in the six months to 30 September. When that result was announced in December, the company said its full- year profits were unlikely to exceed the pounds 867,000 made in the previous year.

Yesterday, the group said it expected to report a substantial loss for the year. It blamed a shortfall in the expected level of turnover for the final quarter and significant restructuring costs.

Cupid's shares lost 3p to close at 35p. They had crashed 32p to 53p in December when the interim results were released.

The company's problems stem from the acquisition of Youngs, the retail formal-wear business, in January of last year.

The Blackburn-based group has about 25 per cent of the bridal- wear market, selling 35,000 wedding dresses a year.