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French Connection in profit alert

Fashion group French Connection has issued another profit warning - its third in 18 months - after its sales continued to struggle. It said Easter had been "difficult" and like-for-like retail sales - which ignore new store openings - in UK and Europe were down 2% since January.

French Connection added that its wholesale orders had been "subdued".

"We are materially reducing our expectations for the full-year results," said chief Stephen Marks.

"There is little indication at the moment that the market conditions or our trading performance will change," he added. Shares in French Connection closed 9 pence, or 4.09%, lower at 211p.

French Connection was once one of the star performers on the High Street, achieving notoriety through the use of its controversial FCUK logo.

However, the company has been hit badly by the slowdown in consumer spending over the past couple of years, and in March it announced that its full-year profits had more than halved to £15.7m.

French Connection's retail sales have continued to fall despite the company launching a new advertising campaign - under the logo "Fashion versus style" - earlier this year.

On the wholesale side, the company said that orders for its summer 2006 range had been "subdued", while its forward order book for winter 2006 was down by 12% on last year.

It added that in its North America business, while wholesale orders had grown, its retail sales had been "disappointing".


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