Regent Inns' operations director resigned this morning as the company issued a profits warning over continued like-for-like sales falls at its Walkabout chain. Regent said the price cuts and promotions at Walkabout announced in February had cut the like-for-like sales fall from 9.9% down for the five weeks over Christmas and the new year to 4.2% down for the eight weeks to February 28. However, it said, not only did the price cuts knock gross profit margins by 2.4%, the lift in sales has disappeared in recent weeks, with Walkabout sales hurt by a dozen or so consistently poorly performing venues. At the same time much of the rest of the Walkabout estate performed below expectations in late March and April, including over the Easter bank holiday. As a result, Regent said, it expected profit before tax from continuing operations for the current financial year to be "materially below" last year's figure. All plans for new Walkabout openings this year have been scrapped, and price promotions in the chain will be "refined" to try to repeat the successes of January and February, Regent said, with more national and local marketing initiatives to differentiate the brand and build sales. After the resignation of Michael Thiele, whose "principle" responsibility as operations director was the Walkabout chain, his place is being filled by David Turner, currently the company's property director. Regent said Turner had "considerable" experience of both the Walkabout and Bar Risa/Jongleurs brands, having worked closely with the operations team over the past four years. Regent said despite disappointing trading at Walkabout, good progress was being made in Jongleurs, which was seeing strong trading levels and growth. It said provided trading remained in line with its revised expectations, shareholders were likely to see a final dividend per share "in line with last year's payment".