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La Senza slumps after another profits warning

La Senza, the troubled lingerie group, announced yet another profits warning yesterday after admitting that Christmas sales had been well below expectations. Joel Teitelbaum, son of the group's co-founder and the man who has presided over La Senza's failure in the UK market, has left the group.

The shares dropped 12 per cent, piling on the woe for those investors who stumped up 150p for the stock when it was floated by advisors Williams de Broe in May 1996. It closed yesterday at 19p, down 2.5p.

Laurence Lewin, the deputy chairman, accepted that La Senza had only itself to blame for its dire trading performance and the fact that it has no chance of achieving its prospectus profit projections.

Mr Lewin, said yesterday: "We have to take responsibility and cannot shelter behind excuses. We are retailers and it is our job to get it right. Now we will have to get this show on the road and reduce losses."

The group clocked up losses of pounds 1.5m in the year to January 1996 and admitted yesterday it would plunge a lot further into the red in the current financial year. On flotation it gave a profits projection of pounds 2.3m. Mr Lewin refused to predict when La Senza would finally break into the black.

La Senza has been rocked by the rise in property values and rents which has blown a huge hole in its expansion plans. Sales have proved disappointing and Mr Lewin admits that many of the group's managers had performed poorly.

One City observer said: "The company and PR firm Biddick's tactic of sending pictures of scantily clad women around the City certainly ensured the flotation was popular... but the bottom really looks to have fallen out of their market."