Appreciate Group to stop making hampers; annual profit falls
Appreciate Group, formerly Park Group, said on Wednesday that it will end production of its Christmas hampers as it reported a decline in annual profit.
In the year to the end of March, statutory pre-tax profit fell to £7.7m from £11.3m the year before, with trading for the 11 months to the end of February in line with expectations but March impacted by the Covid-19 lockdown.
Earnings per share slipped to 2.96p from 4.78p, revenue edged up 2.1% to £112.7m and billings dipped 1.6% to £419.9m.
The company said it was not recommending a final dividend "given continued short-term uncertainty from Covid-19" but intends to return to its dividend policy when it is prudent to do so.
Appreciate also said it is planning to stop producing Christmas hampers. "Whilst hampers were the roots from which we grew as a business more than 50 years ago, they now only equate for less than 2% of billings and are no longer considered part of our future strategy," it said.
Chief executive officer Ian O'Doherty said: "Whilst our performance has been interrupted by the lockdown, we have seen trading start to recover and expect the resumption of growth founded on the more robust and scalable business model.
"We are confident that delivery of the strategic business plan will be the bedrock of strong and sustained future growth."
At 1415 BST, the shares were down 14% at 34.40p.