Disappointing sales hit Harvey Nichols

Nigel Cope
Wednesday 16 October 2002 00:00
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Deutsche Asset Management said yesterday that the £137.5m takeover offer for Harvey Nichols still undervalued the company despite a trading update which showed that sales at the retailer's flagship store in London's Knightsbridge are continuing to weaken.

Deutsche owns a 14 per cent stake in Harvey Nichols and can block the deal proposed by the Hong Kong businessman Dickson Poon, who controls 50.1 per cent of the stores group.

A trading statement included in the takeover circular said sales at the Knightsbridge store in September "continued to be disappointing" with like-for-like sales down 2.9 per cent on last year. This compares with a fall of 2.1 per cent announced on 18 September.

The company said the latest figures had been adjusted to take account of the period of closure for refurbishment of the fifth-floor restaurant and bar at Knightsbridge. Meanwhile, the Leeds store continues to perform well with like-for-like sales growth remaining at 12 per cent.

DAM said the trading update did not alter its view. "We don't think it is a bad performance and it does not affect our view of the valuation," a spokesman said.

Shareholders have until 10 November to decide on the the 250p-a-share cash offer. The shares closed up 0.5p at 249.5p.

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