(ShareCast News) – Findel expressed confidence in delivering full-year results in line with current expectations as it reported growth in first-half sales.
In a trading update ahead of its interim results, the home shopping and education business said first-half sales on a like-for-like basis were up around 6% on the prior year, with Express Gifts continuing to perform well and Education showing a marked improvement.
Within Express Gifts, LFL product sales were 12% higher than a year ago, reflecting the expected slight moderation of the growth rate seen earlier in the period.
Total sales including an improved financial services yield were also up 12% and Express Gifts’ customer base grew by 12% since the start of the year, underpinned by growth from the established customer base and a strong response to the new recruitment campaign.
Meanwhile, the performance of the Education business improved in the second quarter, which is the business’ peak period due to the start of the new school year.
In Q2, revenue from its Classroom and Specialist UK brands was marginally ahead of the same quarter last year, with a moderation in the rate of decline in the lower-margin School brands.
Adjusting for the revised timing of sales under the Sainsbury’s Active Kids contract, total sales in the first half were down by around 5.5% with sales in the second quarter down by approximately 3%.
“Whilst pricing conditions remain extremely competitive and budgetary pressures persist, we are encouraged by continued progress, and particularly by the market share gains now being made by our Classroom and Specialist brands.
“The warehouse consolidation project is on schedule and expected to be completed by the end of the calendar year. Expectations for the division for the full year remain unchanged.”
Also on Thursday, Findel said the search for an independent executive chairman to replace David Sugden was ongoing and it expects to make a further announcement shortly.
At 1540 BST, Findel shares were up 1% to 205p.