Shares in online retailer MySale plunged after the firm warned it will make a half-year loss amid challenging trading in its peak festive quarter.
The group – which runs flash-sale sites and has online retail brands across Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia and the UK – said it expects to make an underlying loss in its first half to December 31, with full-year sales and profits set to be “significantly” lower than expected.
Its shares fell more than 50% after the profit alert, despite assurances that the group expects a “significantly improved” performance in its second half.
MySale – which counts retail tycoons Sir Philip Green and Mike Ashley among its investors – blamed its woes on worse-than-forecast market disruption due to changes to general sales tax regulations in Australia, the group’s largest market.
The firm said it was taking action to address the changes in Australia while it has also launched a review of its operations in the UK and South East Asia, including possible “strategic” sales.
The UK and South East Asia account for about 15% of group sales.
Chief executive Carl Jackson said: “We are very disappointed in the performance during this year’s peak trading period.
“In response to this under-performance, we have significantly accelerated and expanded our existing plans to streamline the business, reduce the cost base and make changes to the product strategy.
“The results of these actions will be realised in the second half of this financial year.”
Launched in 2007, the group runs 24 websites in eight countries, including MySale and Cocosa in the UK.
Its direct retail websites are Deals Direct, OO.com and Top Buy in Australia and Identity Direct in Australia and New Zealand.
The group floated in the UK in 2014, when Sir Philip bought a 25% stake in the firm, while Sports Direct owner Mr Ashley took a 4.8% holding.