Weak markets erode Colefax profits

Upmarket furnishing, fabrics and wallpapers designer Colefax said persistently weak market conditions in its key markets hurt half year results but it remains cautiously optimistic about growth in the US.

Upmarket furnishing, fabrics and wallpapers designer Colefax said persistently weak market conditions in its key markets hurt half year results but it remains cautiously optimistic about growth in the US.

Pre-tax profit fell to £1.79m for the six months ended October 31 2012 from £1.98m the same time a year earlier. Sales for the period slipped to £34.04m from £35.14m.

Underlining its confidence in future trading, Colefax increased the dividend to 1.90p per share from 1.85p previously.

The group, which trades under Colefax and Fowler, Cowtan & Tout, Jane Churchill, Manuel Canovas and Larsen, said the results, which were in line with company expectations, reflect challenging market conditions in most of its major markets, especially the UK and Europe.

Profits in the core fabric division increased 4% compared to the prior year and the decline in the interim profits was due to a weak performance by the Decorating Division and expenses of £130,000 relating to the tender offer in September last year.

Sales in the Fabric Division, which represent 89% of group sales, fell by 2% to £30.21m.

Chairman David Green said: "Current trading conditions are still extremely challenging but we are cautiously optimistic about growth in our major market, the US. Our other principal markets remain weak and I think this situation will continue for at least another year."

Earnings per share slipped to 8.8p from 9.9p previously. Net cash increased to £5.59m from £5.30m before.

CJ

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