Failing to attract new customers
Home shopping, educational and medical supplies company Findel has revealed that its sales have remained flat compared with last year, as a result of problems attracting new customers.

In a trading update today, the business said that its Home Shopping division had begun this year with 9 per cent fewer customers because of a 'disappointing recruitment experience' last September.

As a result Findel - which sends out 3 million mail order catalogues each year - has shifted its recruitment for this year to October and said it was confident it would hit its target of increasing its number of customers by 5 per cent.

The company - which announced on Monday that it had spent£34 million to buy e-tailers and from ailing European Home Retail - said that it had increased sales from existing customers by 7 per cent and was hence able to report flat sales growth.

Like-for-like sales in its healthcare division for the six months to September 30 were 2 per cent up on the same time last year. However, sales at its educational supplies arm were flat.

The company said that the 'period between now and Christmas is - the busiest period of the year', but that it would concentrate its managerial efforts on integrating its new acquisitions in the short term.

It added that this strategy would allow it to make 'further good progress in the full year'. Its interim results will be published in full on November 30.

Findel made no further comment on mooted plans to de-merge its home shopping division from the rest of the business.