- Fashion retailer Quiz booked an underlying first-half loss after its sales were hammered by the pandemic.

At the bottom-line level, the company booked a pre-tax profit for the six months through September of £10.6 million, but the figure included a £16.2 million gain on the administration of a subsidiary.

Underlying losses amounted to £5.6 million, compared to a year-on-year profit of £0.3 million, as revenue slumped 73% to £17.2 million.

The company said a decline in its gross margin to 51.7%, down from 61.7%, reflected an increased level of discounting.

Quiz did not declare an interim dividend.

Since the end of September, revenues continued to be impacted by lower demand due to continued social restrictions and stores and concessions being subject to closure.

The company had, however, recorded a stronger sales performance in December relative to other months when all sales channels were operating.

'As with other omni-channel retailers, Quiz has faced significant challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,' chief executive Tarak Ramzan said.

'We have taken a number of actions to protect our customers and people, preserve liquidity, and restructure the size and cost base of our store estate to adjust to the new normal of retail.'

'Whilst we continue to rebalance our product offering towards more casual clothing reflecting near term customer demand, given our focus on occasion wear, demand for our products has been impacted significantly by the pandemic.'

'However, we remain confident in the strength of our brand and are highly confident that demand for the brand's trademark occasion wear will recover when restrictions on social events are eased.'

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