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Retailer QUIZ's profit slumps; to shut more stores

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By Reuters
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(Reuters) – Fast-fashion retailer QUIZ Plc <QUIZ.L> reported a plunge in half-year earnings on Wednesday and said it would shut additional loss-making smaller stores, as the retail sector in the UK struggles with sluggish demand.

The company’s shares, now worth less than one-tenth of their value when they listed in 2017, dropped 16% on London’s junior market AIM by 0811 GMT.

QUIZ said it has already shut seven concessions, with other closures planned after the key Christmas sales season.

The company, which operates 73 stores and 171 concessions in the country, said it has the option to renegotiate or terminate leases for half of its UK stores over the next two years.

The UK brick-and-mortar industry has gone through a period of intense transformation with fierce competition from stronger online rivals, steep costs and softer spending ahead of Brexit.

QUIZ said underlying pretax profit sank to 0.6 million pounds for the six months ended Sept. 30 from 4.2 million pounds a year earlier.

Due to certain impairments and leases, the company incurred an exceptional non-cash charge of 7 million pounds during the period, which resulted in loss before tax of 6.8 million pounds.

However, the retailer pointed to a positive response to recent product ranges and said it was “pleased” with sales across the recent Black Friday week, without disclosing the actual numbers.

Data from payments firm Barclaycard showed the value of Black Friday sales in Britain leapt 16.5% from a year earlier.

(Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Sriraj Kalluvila)