Alexon Group reports a 1 percent drop on a comparable store basis for the 6 weeks ended Jan. 3, with a sluggish pre-Christmas sales season followed by buoyant off-price Winter sales. The pattern was similar in its Dolcis shoe shops and in its other divisions. The rate of decline was identical for the 23 weeks ended Jan. 3, but gross margins were higher than in the year-ago period. The British retail group expects to close the financial year on Jan. 31 with an operating profit before interest and goodwill amortization of at least £32.4 million (€46.6m-$59.2m), 7 percent up on the prior year.