Findel positive about the year ahead


Analysts, Seymour Pierce, have described FIndel’s final results
as “the real Curate’s Egg” containing both good and
bad news. The good news is that sales are up 11 per cent to
£528 million and that benchmark profit is up 10 per cent to
£56 million. The bad news is that profit before tax halved
in the year to 31st March 2007 to £17.5 after a list of
one-off costs that included the disposal of its retail outlets,
warehouse reorganisation and exit from third party contracts, the
re-organisation in the educational supplies division, the
disposal of Home Farm Hampers and the initial phase of the
integration project of its acquisitions. Overall, the group made
good progress in the year, with home shopping sales increasing 29
per cent to £338.4m. The acquired “cash with
order” businesses contributed £70 million to sales. A
year ago Findel’s home shopping division operated only a credit
model. During the year it acquired Kleeneze, Kitbag.com,
Confetti, I Want One of Those.com, Letterbox and The Cotswold
Company and consequently has built a cash with order business
with annualised sales of over £150m. The central functions
for the internet brands are being brought together under a new
umbrella company, Findel Direct, with each brand retaining
management for its marketing and buying. It is anticipated that
this restructure will lead to a demerger of the group.

The educational supplies division saw a reduction in sales and
profits caused by a number of factors including schools’ new
multi-year budgets and not spending to their budgets. However,
there was an upturn in demand in the final quarter of the year
and chairman, Keith Chapman, believes that the “refreshed
product range, improved service, increasing sophistication in the
use of our data warehouse and thoroughly revitalised business,
present us with a strong opportunity for a return to growth next
year.”

Findel’s education division has chosen Mda:creative as the
creative and design provider for its main 2008 line of
catalogues. Mda will supply creative, design, photography and
style guide input for the Hope Education, NES Arnold and Davies
Sports catalogues. Findel will retain Mda to work on direct mail
and other promotional material.

Keith Chapman stated, “Findel has gone through a period of
significant change over the past year. We have made several
strategic acquisitions which have transformed our home shopping
business. We have delivered considerable progress this year and
strengthened our position in all three of our core markets. We
remain excited about the year ahead and the opportunities for the
group.”

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