• Half-year sales and profits flat as Express Gifts business disappoints
  • Kitbag sale delayed as buyer seeks funding
  • Findel expects full-year profits to rise

Home shopping group Findel has reported flat half-year sales and profits while the sale of its Kitbag business has been delayed.

Findel, whose third biggest shareholder is Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, said sales in the 26 weeks to September 25 were £191.4m, compared to £192.2m the previous year.

Pre-tax profits, before exceptionals, were £3.4m. However it said it still expects a rise in full-year profits.

The etailer’s Express Gifts business, which accounts for 80% of profits, saw half-year sales growth of 2.7%, but flat operating profits. Findel said the performance was “below expectations”.

Sales for its Findel Education business, which supplies resources and equipement to schools, fell 8.2% during the period.

Findel is also in the process of selling its Kitbag business, which sells sports shirts, to an unnamed buyer. But the group today revealed the buyer is taking “longer than expected to finalise their funding” for the acquisition.

Findel said discussions are “on-going” and there is still no certainty of a deal.

The retailer said Kitbag’s first-half performance was “disappointing” as sales dropped 2.1% and operating losses widened to £4.2m.

Findel added that it is delaying its recruitment of a new chief executive due to the potential sale of Kitbag.

Sports Direct took an 18.9% stake in Findel in September in what analysts suggested was a move to disrupt the sale of Kitbag.

Sport Direct this month requested a general meeting to be convened in bid to get a director appointed at Findel. It is understood the director – Benjamin Gardener – would represent Sports Direct’s interests on the Findel board.