But significant investment hits profitability
Sex toys and lingerie retailer Ann Summers has reported strong year-end turnover figures, but profits have been severely hit. Turnover rose to£129.9 million for the year to June 30 last year, compared with£64.7 million the previous year. Profit on ordinary activities before tax plunged to£3.3 million from£8.9 million the year before. Like-for-like gross retail sales for the period were up 2 per cent, while total gross retail sales were£71.3 million - a rise of 31 per cent. Total Party Plan gross sales rose 5.3 per cent to£45.8 million, and total gross home sales rose 5 per cent to£5 million, compared with the same period the year before.

Ann Summers chief executive Jacqueline Gold said trading in the six months to Christmas had been strong, with like-for-like sales up 10 per cent for the retail division, because of improvement in product ranges. During the period, the retailer continued to integrate lingerie brand Knickerbox, acquired in 2001, into the business.

The retailer opened 35 stores over the period, and built up its buying, merchandising and marketing teams. In the latter half of last year, Ann Summers opened up a further six stores. It is also developing a store concept to be launched in the next few months. Gold said: 'These investments have impacted on our short-term profitability, but we are already seeing a very positive return.'