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Attraqt (LSE: ATQT) has found itself on the end of a pasting in Friday business following the release of troubling trading details.

The business — which provides visual merchandising and search services to online retailers — was more than 20% lower from the prior night’s close and, although off intra-day lows, remains 18% lower on the day.

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Attraqt announced that the review launched following the appointment of Eric Dodd as finance director in September had caused it to cut down some of its sales forecasts.  

The AIM-quoted business advised that “due to inaccuracies in forecasting the timing of certain contracts and client ‘go-live’ dates,” revenues are expected to be around 10% lower for 2017 than it had  expected. It also warned that the lower revenue run rate endured at the end of 2017 will carry forward into next year.

On a brighter note, Attraqt did advise that it expected to report high-single-digit organic growth in 2017, and that it should be EBITDA-positive in the second half of the year and broadly break-even for the year as a whole.

Forecasts fall

Attraqt said that the delays to pipeline conversion were the result result of “a number of significant new contracts closing, but later than planned, and some other contract decisions being delayed,” although it advised that its sales pipeline “remains strong” and that it boasts an order book of £2m.

It added that it was confident the forecasting inaccuracies around the timing of contract wins has now been resolved, and that management is working on a plan to resolve delayed ‘go-live’ dates.

City brokers had been expecting it to finally bounce into the black after years of losses with earnings of 1p per share, but today’s announcement could put these hopes through the shredder.

And as a consequence, the tech titan’s high forward P/E ratio of 36 times is likely to bump even higher in the days ahead. I reckon Attraqt, despite the brilliant revenues opportunities created by an expanding online retail sector, remains a pretty-risky dip buy at current prices.

Retailer on the ropes

Topps Tiles (LSE: TPT) has also endured no shortage of turnover trouble in recent times and, with economic headwinds intensifying in the UK, I also reckon the risks outweigh potential rewards here too.

The Cheadle-based firm continues to slump in value, its share price collapsing 34% in less than six months, and the steady stream of disappointing trading releases suggests that further woe can be expected.

Topps announced just this month that like-for-like revenues dipped 2.9% during the 12 months to September as a result of a “challenging” trading environment and it suggested that further troubles could be around the corner, noting that it is taking a “prudent view on market conditions for the year ahead.”

The City is expecting earnings to fall 5% in fiscal 2019, carrying on from the predicted 15% slide last year. While this results in a very-cheap forward P/E rating of 9.9 times, the strong possibility of swingeing downgrades to earnings forecasts here too is encouraging me to stay well away.

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Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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