Sales put Oasis 'back on track' after 15% profit slide

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The fashion retailer Oasis posted a 15 per cent drop in full-year pre-tax profits yesterday, but said like-for-like sales rose 5 per cent in the first seven weeks of this year. "We are pleased to be back on track," said finance director Dominic Lavelle.

The company reported pre-tax profits of £11.1m for the year to 29 January, down from £13m, on turnover up by 18 per cent to £131.8m. Margins were "very robust" in the first seven weeks of the year, Mr Lavelle said. Oasis maintained a final dividend of 5.6p, giving a year's total of 8.5p, up 3 per cent.

Mr Lavelle said the company had faced a "very challenging" fourth quarter.

"But what we have seen since then is a bounce back, with like-for-like sales up 5 per cent, just about in line with the first three-quarters of last year."

In January the company, which operates 146 Oasis stores and 22 Coast fashion brand stores, issued a warning that profits would be below the lower end of market forecasts, which were then about £12.5m. Some analysts reduced forecasts to £11.5m following the January trading statement.

Coast reported a pre-tax loss of £1.4m in its first full year of trading, and is expected to break even next year, Mr Lavelle said.

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