Findel plc, a market leader in the UK home shopping, education supplies and healthcare markets, today issues its Interim Management Statement covering the 16 weeks of the Group's second half from 29 September 2012 to 22 January 2013.
The Company Board is said to be pleased with the strength of the Group's recovery, with total sales since the half-year 10.2% ahead of the prior year, up from 7.7% in the 8 weeks to 23 November 2012. Year-to-date, Group sales are 8.9% ahead of the prior year.
Express Gifts has continued to achieve strong sales growth, recording its best Christmas sales performance for five years. Since the half-year sales have increased by 13.3% versus the prior year, building on the 9.1% increase in the 8 weeks to 23 November 2012.
Kitbag continues to make significant improvements on the prior year operating loss, with trends seen at the time of the Interim Results continuing.
In Education Supplies the Company has continued to see the encouraging trend of growth in their core UK brands since the half-year results, offset by the previously reported shortened duration of Sainsbury's 'Active Kids' scheme, which is supported by Findel Education, and lower international exports, resulting in total sales in the period down 1.6% on the prior year. The Group commented that clearly, any extended period of school closures due to weather will impact the division's performance over the remainder of the year.
Finally, the Group's Healthcare division has continued to perform well. Sales for the period since the half-year are 20.1% ahead of prior year driven by new contract starts and growth in existing contracts, with margin trends maintained.
The financial position of the Group continues to improve, with a focus on debt reduction whilst investing in growth.
A representative of the company said:
“The Group remains on the path to recovery and overall we are positive about the progress we are making in a difficult environment. We remain focused on delivering our multi-year turnaround plan, which is aimed at delivering significantly improved shareholder returns. The Board continues to believe that, as stated at the time of our Interim Results, the Group will deliver improved results in the second half versus the prior year, continuing the trend of improved performance.”
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