Multichannel retailer Flying Brands has reported a fall in group pre-tax profit but sales nudged ahead.

For the year to December 31, Flying Brands reported group pre-tax profit from continuing operations of £0.22m, down from £2.39m. Sales from continuing businesses, excluding Greetings Direct, were up to £27.56m, from £27.39m.

Internet sales grew to 34.8% of total sales.

The retailer said the decrease in profitability was due to a reduced profit contribution from its Garden division, which saw profits fall to £1.34m from £1.81m, and an increased loss from its Gifts division to £0.81m from £0.21m.

It also said it estimates that the extreme weather conditions over Christmas resulted in around £0.55m in lost profits.

During the year Flying Brands conducted a strategic review of the business and concluded that collectables brand Benham did not fit with its other brands, and sold it. In gifts, it bought Flowers Direct, and bought Drake Algar, a florist in London.

In Garden, it added to the range of products.

It also invested in Dealtastic.

Tim Trotter, chairman, said: “In 2010 we made significant progress in executing our strategy to become a business focussed on Garden and Gifts. We disposed of Benham, acquired Flowers Direct, Drake Algar and Garden Centre Online, reduced our cost base, and strengthened our online retailing with an investment in Dealtastic. We believe that the initiatives we have undertaken during the year will improve the profitability and efficiency of our business in 2011.”

Flying Brands said trading this year has been mixed. It said Flowers Direct continued to trade below expectations but there are some encouraging signs that its recent changes to the business are starting to take effect.

Overall, it said while the economic environment remains challenging and its new strategy for the Gift division is at an early stage, it said it looks forward to the year with confidence.