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Sales down by nearly a quarter at Flying Brands

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Flying Brands, owner of multichannel brands from Flying Flowers to Gardening Direct, said today that revenues fell by almost a quarter over the Christmas period. The group’s overall sales fell to £4.83m in the final quarter of its financial year, a drop of 24.9% from sales of £6.43m over the same period last year, it said in a trading update out today.

The online and catalogue shopping company said it had taken the decision to cut back on marketing spend ahead of its Christmas selling season, in the light of previous performance, and as a result sales over that period fell to £3.29m from £4.47m at the same time last year. However, said Flying Brands, the bottom line would still be in line with expectations. “A combination of higher margins, lower marketing costs and a greatly improved refunds and replacements performance meant that we expect contribution to be significantly ahead of last year and broadly in line with management’s expectations,” it said in today’s statement.

Orders were slightly up in its Gardening Direct business, at £0.34m, compared to £0.32m last year, although sales in gardencentreonline.co.uk, fell to £0.21m from £0.27m last time. Garden Bird Supplies sales dipped to £0.64m from £0.91m last time while its mail order audio books business Listen2 saw sales of £0.35m, down from £0.46m last time.

Flying Brands has suffered from disappointing trading in recent months, leading to a number of profits warnings over the last year. Today it said discussions about selling some of its businesses continued, and an announcement would be made in due course.

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