Cost efficiencies have begun to improve profitability at multichannel retailer Flying Brands.

Group pre-tax profits at the home shopping group rocketed to £2.9m in the six months to July 3, up from £300,000 last year.

Like-for-like sales at its ongoing business were flat. The Gardening Direct business delivered an 8 per cent like-for-like uplift over the key spring season.

Flying Brands said the benefits of improved efficiencies at its call centres and price increases implemented in the second half of last year are now being felt.

Because of its better trading performance, the business has operated within its banking covenants and its cash position is better than expected.  

Flying Brands chief executive Stephen Cook, who joined the retailer in February, said: “The second-half performance is dependent on a small number of key campaigns, the results of which have become more difficult to predict in recent years.

“However, we remain confident that the first-half improvement can be continued in the second half of the year.”