7 June 2011 – final results

The annual results to 31 March have come in as broadly expected which should provide some comfort to shareholders.  Revenue for the year on continuing operations declined slightly to £533m (2010: £547m) with pre-tax profits before exceptionals declining to £7.0m (2010: £1.7m).  Earnings per share on the same basis were 0.59p (2010: 1.41p) but no dividend was declared.  All five of the group’s continuing businesses remained profitable and the restructured balance sheet has now given the group much needed stability.  The group is now poised to improve its performance going forward and is already making good progress with its long-term plan to deliver better returns.  This is the most optimistic statement from the group for some time with March 2011 marking the end of a long period of uncertainty for the group.  Although it is only early days in the group’s recovery and the difficult retail environment will mean that trading remains challenging, there are at least some grounds for optimism looking forward.  The shares are a SPECULATIVE BUY.