Clarification: An earlier version of this story briefly ran with a headline suggesting Pumpkin Patch might cease trading based on its Christmas sales performance. This is not the case.
Pumpkin Patch shares have dropped to a record low after the company warned that it could breach banking covenants if trading over the crucial Christmas period does not deliver to expectations.
The children's clothing retailer's stock has fallen more than 11 per cent to 30c since the announcement at its annual meeting in Auckland this afternoon.
Last month the company's auditor, PwC, said the former high-flying retailer may have difficulty continuing as a going concern if it was unable to comply with banking covenant agreements with its bank, the ANZ.
Chairman Peter Schuyt told the annual meeting that the company had a long-term and positive relationship with the ANZ.
"We have had, and continue to have the support of the bank over this challenging trading and change period," Schuyt said. He added Pumpkin Patch remained in compliance with its covenants.
"We are also currently part way into a seasonal peak trading period," he said.
"The outcome of this trading period will materially affect our financial result and the outlook for the remainder of the year," he said.
"Should trading not deliver to expectations over this period, or worsen over the first half of next year, then there is a risk that the company may breach banking covenants in the latter part of this financial year noting that the seasonal trading results will become clearer over the next 3-4 weeks," he said.
The board has been undertaking a review of its capital structure and other strategic alternatives and has hired Goldman Sachs to assist in the process.
Pumpkin Patch has not declared a final dividend for 2014 because the reduction of bank debt continued to remain a priority.
"The payment of dividends will be reviewed once certainty around achieving the strategic milestones underlying the transformation process becomes apparent, particularly in relation to the debt reduction plan," Schuyt said.
"I would like to make clear that we see trading conditions in this hugely competitive market in the coming twelve months to remain difficult.
"The financial benefits from the various business transformation projects will be realised progressively and there is no silver bullet," he said.
Pumpkin Patch, like many other retailing stocks, has faced a tough business environment in recent years. The company's shares last traded at 34c, down from 89c last December.