Three more leave Etam

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The Independent Online
TOM STEVENSON

Deputy City Editor

The revolving doors at the troubled high-street retailer Etam continued spinning yesterday as three directors quit following the announcement of worse than expected interim losses. The company's shares, which have already halved over the past year, slipped a further 14p to close at 153p.

The departures follow five other resignations from Etam's board this year, including that of Sir John Nott, the former chairman. The latest resignations included Rodney East, the former managing director, and Keith Miles, finance director.

Announcing a loss of pounds 3.82m (pounds 4.74m profit) for the six months to August, Etam warned that there had been no improvement in trading since the annual meeting earlier in the year. "Etam's annual results are greatly dependent on the second half trading. For these reasons we must be cautious about the outcome of results for the full financial year."

That profits warning, the latest of several this year, followed a slump in sales from pounds 113m to pounds 107m. With high fixed costs such as rents in expensive locations, the inability to increase sales has devastated the group's underlying profitability.

As a result the interim dividend was cut from 1.95p to 0.5p. Analysts expect another cut at the full year stage.

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