Footasylum swings to loss and scales back expansion as high street pain continues

Footasylum has swung to a half-year loss and said it will slow down its store opening plans as the retailer bemoaned a challenging trading environment.

The premium sports chain posted a pre-tax loss of £2.5 million in the 26 weeks to August 25, compared with a £1.7 million profit in the same period last year.

The group also said that, in order to “preserve the balance sheet” following a profit warning last month, Footasylum will “scale back” its store expansion programme to two new stores and two upsizes per year.

Footasylum chairman Barry Bown said: “This has been a difficult trading period for Footasylum as we have contended with tough conditions on the high street and some delays in our programme of new store openings and upsizes ahead of the peak trading period.

“While we are pleased to be reporting good top-line growth, and a particularly strong year-on-year revenue performance in both online and wholesale, our profitability has been impacted both by a lower overall gross margin from higher clearance activity in stores, as well as the extensive investments that are being made to position the company for future growth.”

Revenue in the period was up 19% to £98.6 million, with the retailer recording growth across all channels and major product categories.

Shares were down nearly 2% at 31.9p in morning trade.

The firm’s stock tanked in September after it warned over full-year profits and sales.

Footasylum said at the time that revenue growth and earnings would come in “significantly lower than previous guidance”.

It blamed a “challenging” August and warned there is “no sign of a recovery in the short-term on the high street”.

Footasylum sought to reassure investors that its growth plans would keep the group on track ahead of the critical Christmas trading period.