Listen2Books does well, but Flying Flowers wilts after poor Christmas trading
Flying Brands provided further proof of how the home shopping sector seems to have avoided the poor fortunes of its high-street rivals. The retailer's profit before tax increased by 4 per cent to£5.8 million in the 52 weeks to December 31 last year. However, turnover fell slightly from£35.9 million in 2003 to£35.7 million.

A diversity of brands and a rise in online trading by 24 per cent improved customer retention and profitability, according to the retailer. Some brands performed better than others, with Listen2Books doing well, but Flying Flowers underperforming, particularly over Christmas, which the retailer blamed for flat sales.

Flying Brands chief executive Mark Dugdale (pictured) said: 'Along with our competitors the spring campaign for Gardening Direct has been slow to date, but we anticipate a strong response through the second half of March and April as a result of an early Easter and demand trends shifting to later in the season.'

Chairman David Harbord noted that the retailer's efforts to find acquisitions in the gifts, hobbies and entertainment sectors had been fruitless. However, he admitted that he wasn't in a hurry to make a snap decision. 'Getting it right is more important than timing because we believe there is significantly more that we can achieve with our existing brands,' he said.