QS slides into loss

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Unseasonal weather and weak consumer demand took its toll on another high street retailer yesterday when QS Holdings, a cut-price clothing group, warned that a trading loss and stock write-down would push the company into loss.

QS shares slumped 28 per cent to 86p on the warning that it would make a loss of pounds 750,000 in the first half compared to profits of pounds 2.11m last year.

QS, which has 107 stores, principally in the South-east, said that sales in February and March had been disappointing but that an improvement in April was not sustained. Like other retailers, QS says colder than normal weather in the early part of the summer meant lower sales. Excess stock is now having to be cleared at knockdown prices.

QS - which used to be known as Quality Seconds but no longer stocks remaindered goods - says new ranges have been tested with some success. The Fitch design company has been commissioned to give the stores a new look, expected to roll out next year.

The company said it expected to declare an unchanged interim dividend but would review its payout depending on trading.