Menswear company Moss Bros has issued a profit warning after reporting a slump in sales.
The UK's third-largest suit retailer said it had experienced both lower levels of footfall and a drop in sales over the past seven weeks, admitting it was unlikely its full-year profits would meet market expectations as a result.
Moss Bros is the latest major retailer to warn of tougher trading conditions, while a report published today by Nationwide reveals consumer confidence fell at its fastest rate in over three years in November the apparent results of growing unease about the state of the economy and the ongoing global credit crunch.
Like-for-like retail sales at Moss Bros declined by 1.5 per cent during the first 18 weeks of the second half, the company revealed.
However the company stressed the key Christmas trading period was likely to have a "major bearing" on its final results for the whole year.
Moss Bros said it had developed plans to reduce costs and maximise returns on assets within the business, which it confirmed maintained a "very strong" balance sheet.
The company, which has been tightly controlling stock levels in light of lower sales, added it was well placed to both limit the impact of any further weakening of the consumer environment and to capitalise on any subsequent improvement in trading conditions.
Moss Bros chief executive Philip Mountford said: "Our sales performance in the last two months reflects the tough trading conditions in our markets.
"However, we enter this key period with well-developed retail plans, a good product range, better store environments and tight stocks.
"Using our strong positive cash position we are confident that continued investment in our stores and our offer will underpin future growth," he concluded.