The Jersey and Essex-based home shopping group posted its interim results on Wednesday, which the London-listed firm said were reasonable and boded well for the future.
hile sales fell by three per cent to £19.
1m over the six months to 27 June, profits before tax and exceptional items grew by five per cent to £3.
Without the exceptional items, profits increased by 17 per cent over the half-year.
he fall in turnover was mainly due to a disappointing six months at the company’s UK-based bedding plant and gardening products business, Gardening Direct, which saw sales fall by nine per cent.
In the spring the company adopted a more targeted approach to recruiting new customers and the response was below expectations.
owever, the campaign did succeed in reducing unprofitable orders and the early signs for autumn are described as ‘encouraging’ – although the company does not expect to make up the shortfall in the second half of the year.
erformance among the company’s other brands was better.
Turnover at the Retreat Farm-based Flying Flowers was steady, although sales around Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day – the two most important dates on the Flying Flowers calendar – were reasonable and substantially ahead of last year.
rofits from Listen2Books grew by 28 per cent to £1.
5m and the audio-book brand is on target to be profitable this year, with customer loyalty proving stronger than expected.
First-half sales at stamp specialists Benham increased by nine per cent over the first half to £2.
8m, although profits were down from £140,000 to £120,000 because of a £500,000 provision for slow-moving stock which needs to be sold.
We are doing reasonably well in what are difficult market conditions,’ said the company’s chief executive, Mark Dugdale.
‘We are debt-free and have cash in the bank, which gives us the ammunition to implement our strategy of maximising cash and profits from our core brands, and looking to Listen2Books and new brands for profitable growth.
We continue to look for new brands to join our stable – which will provide strength in diversity but still fit in with our focus on hobbies, gifts and entertainment.
per cent increase in half-year dividend shows our commitment to a progressive dividend strategy but, by the same token, we are committed to growing the business.
We remain optimistic for the future.
A spokesman for Collins Stewart, who are Flying Brands’ stockbroker, said that the results were broadly in line with expectations and his firm had slightly adjusted its full-year pre-tax profit forecast for Flying Brands to £5.
The company’s share price closed yesterday at 146p, down 8p on Wednesday’s opening price.