Quicks crashes

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SHARES IN Quicks crashed to a seven-year low yesterday after the car and spare parts group said second-half profits would be lower than in the period last year, and blamed the economic slump in the Midlands, the North-west and Scotland for a fall in car sales in September and October.

Alec Murray, chief executive, said he had no hopes of recovery in traditionally weak November and December, and expected second-half profits to be lower than last year's.

The warning prompted analysts to slash their forecasts for full-year earnings by more than a quarter from pounds 9.5m to pounds 7m, about half of what they had been expecting at the start of the year. The shares ended more than 22 per cent lower at 66.5p - their lowest level since 1992.

Mr Murray said Quicks would close or sell four of its 44 dealerships in an attempt to cut costs and debt.