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Flying Brands set to pull out of online retail

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Flying Brands says it is in discussions about the sale of its final online retail business to concentrate on its business-to-business growing and dispatch business at its Retreat Farm site in Jersey.

The company, which has in recent months sold off businesses including its signature Flying Flowers operation, announced today that it was in talks with a number of potential buyers of its Gardening Direct business.

It also said it planned to close its Chelmsford head office as well as its call centre by the end of June, outsourcing call centre operations to a third party.

The news came today as Flying Brands released its final results for the year to December 30 2011, showing a pre-tax loss of £3.2m from its continuing businesses.

Chairman Tim Trotter said the move to sell its brands followed a downturn in trading that meant “the company could no longer service its then level of borrowings and that this meant in turn that it could not finance its ambitions for the gifts and gardening businesses.”

As a result it first moved to sell its gifts business, which included Flying Flowers, to Interflora for £2.4m, in April. The directors then decided that the group’s retail business “was of insufficient size to make it financially viable,” and went on to sell its Garden Bird Supplies, Garden Centre Online and Listen2 businesses for £0.8m.

The company expected to be in a position to update the markets on the sale of Gardening Direct before the end of June 2012, said Trotter, who also said that the company did not intend to sell either Retreat Farm or its growing and live dispatch business.

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