Home shopping group Flying Brands is confident that renewed focus on its core gardening and gifts offer and a push for more online sales will strengthen the business as it continues with its turnaround.

As part of the programme, it is selling collectables arm Benham and has acquired another flowers business, Drake Algar, for £500,000.

However, profitability has been hampered by Benham and the disposal of cards business Greetings Direct. Pre-exceptional pre-tax profits in the first half to July 2 were £1.4m compared with £1.9m in the same period last year.

The results were below analysts’ expectations but house broker Matthew McEachran of Singer said that excluding Benham the results would have been “marginally ahead of forecast”.

Flying Brands online sales climbed 15% to £4.9m in the period and now account for 31.3% of total sales and the retailer reinstated a dividend of 1.6p a share.

McEachran said: “Although current year forecasts will need to be downgraded to reflect discontinuing Benham, the effect should be marginal next year and we suspect there are other acquisitions being looked at that could yet contribute.”

Flying Brands said that after its acquisition of Drake Algar and Flowers Direct it continues to look for further acquisitions.

McEachran said the results statement “fundamentally points towards future growth and upgrades, and a refocus on more highly rated activities.”