Group bolstered by acquisitions
Home shopping retailer Findel has unveiled an upbeat financial performance, although a decline in customer numbers means increasing pressures for the group.

Sales for the first six months of the financial year, including acquisitions, were£233.3 million, 22 per cent higher than the comparable period last year. Group pre-tax profit was flat at£2.2 million.

However, sales at the group's home shopping arm fell 4 per cent, down from£101.3 million to£97.2 million. Operating profit at the division fell to£3.3 million from£3.4 million last year.

'Our home shopping division has outperformed the wider home shopping sector. We continue to be excited by the prospects for the group,' said Findel chairman Keith Chapman.

Numis retail analyst Steve Davies said: 'The home shopping division achieved an operating profit of£3.3 million, which was ahead of our expectations, despite a 4 per cent sales decline.'

The sales drop has been blamed on the delayed mailing of the Christmas catalogue in September, a downturn in the retail market and a loss in customers. The retailer said: 'The base has reduced slightly from 1.6 million to just under 1.5 million.'

However, some respite came in the form of online shopping, a growth area for the group. The web accounts for more than 21 per cent of orders, up from 16 per cent last year.

Chapman said: 'Sales via the internet continue to perform strongly. This is an attractive route to market.'