The Christmas hamper, voucher and gift seller Park Group has remained upbeat despite reporting a widening pre-tax loss.

Park Group pre-tax losses grew to £5.2m in the six months to September 30, compared to a £4.5m loss last year.  

Total sales were £46m, down from £50.9m in the first half of 2010.

But Park Group said orders are up 5% this year and first half performance was “normal” at the “highly seasonal” business in which 80% of orders are dispatched in the second half of the year.

The group’s consumer business, which provides the Christmas savings scheme, saw revenues increase 15% in the first half of the year to £6.7m.

Chris Houghton, group managing director at Park Group, said the company’s corporate arm is likely to be a key performer although first half revenues of £39.4m were down from £45.1m last year.

He said: “We are seeing increasing numbers of people using our gift products as employee incentives this year.”

A TV campaign featuring former Loose Women presenter Coleen Nolan has helped Park Group increase sales of Christmas saving schemes.

Chairman Peter Johnson said: “The second half of the year has started well in the corporate and consumer businesses with orders running ahead of the same time last year. 

“There is no doubt that the prepaid card and our application of online technologies is transforming Park and offers exciting growth opportunities in both existing and new market areas.”

He added: “The outlook for Park is encouraging. Park is in a strong position and we anticipate another year of growth.”