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Express Gifts celebrates strongest Christmas in five years

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Express Gifts has enjoyed its strongest Christmas for five years, parent company Findel said today.

Sales at the home shopping brand, Findel’s largest business, rose by 13.3% in the 16 weeks to January 22, compared to the same time last year. Growth came as the company invested in keeping prices low. That has boosted active customer numbers by 8% over the last year. Margins have reduced at the same time. But, said Findel, “we expect Express Gifts to deliver a significant improvement in profit performance for the year as a whole.” It warned, however, that the rate of sales growth was likely to slow as it came up against stronger comparative sales in the previous year.

In today’s interim management statement Findel said sales at its Kitbag business, which specialises in replica kits and sports equipment, had risen by 19% in the period, with profit margins up by 2%. New contracts won by the business include one to support online sales at football club Olympique Marseilles and one with the Tour de France.

However, said Findel, “The relaunch of, our own e-tailing website has not met all of our aspirations and we will increase the level of marketing spend … in the final quarter, which should deliver medium-term payback.”

Elsewhere, Findel said sales were up in its healthcare division but down in education and at Kleeneze.

The statement concluded: “The group remains on the path to recovery and overall we are positive about the progress we are making in a difficult environment. We remain focused on delivering our multi-year turnaround plan.”

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