Jeweller Theo Fennell issues profit warning after ‘disappointing’ Christmas

Company famous for five-figure jewel-encrusted skulls delays deadline to end takeover talks for fourth time

Celebrity jeweller Theo Fennell issued a profit warning on Friday, as demand for its jewel-encrusted skulls with five-figure price tags faded during a “disappointing” Christmas.

The company, favoured by Elton John and Cheryl Cole, is currently in takeover talks and on Friday delayed the put-up or shut-up deadline for the fourth time, until 22 February. It emerged in September that the group was in preliminary discussions with private equity group EME Capital, sending the shares up by more than 50% to 15p. But as negotiations dragged on they have dropped back, closing on Thursday at 11.5p.

In December the company said losses had more than halved in the first six months of the year, in line with expectations. But on Friday it said results for the year to March would be “materially below” management expectations.

“The company experienced a disappointing Christmas trading period due to a challenging UK consumer market, an uncertain economic environment and a lack of footfall to the stores,” it said. Cost savings achieved by the company would help mitigate losses for the full year, it added.

The last forecasts from house broker Seymour Pierce suggested the group would make losses before tax of £400,000 from sales of £13m this year, but they were withdrawn when the company entered takeover talks.

Luxury retailers have been insulated from the downturn, as the spending power of their well-heeled clients was relatively undiminished. But Theo Fennell claimed some of its peers had experienced similar issues over Christmas.

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