Automagic pulls back to profit

SHARES in Automagic jumped 14p to 27p yesterday after the shoe repair and key cutting business bounced back into the black in the year to June, writes Tom Stevenson.

Mike Strom, chairman, said trading had been in line with expectations, with the most profitable months still to come. He added: 'While trading could hardly be described as easy during the period, the improved profitability is a result of the company now being able to concentrate on its core business without the distraction of the laundry and dry cleaning activities.'

During the year all except one of Automagic's London Valeting shops was sold. A cost-cutting programme continues to create savings.

Pre-tax profits were pounds 122,000 compared with a loss last time of pounds 1.28m, struck on flat turnover of pounds 11.5m ( pounds 11.8m). Earnings per share emerged at 2p after 1992's loss of 20.1p. For the second year running there was no dividend.

Automagic, which operates more than 100 shops, suffered during the recession from a combination of rising rents, flat sales and a depressed property market, which made it difficult to dispose of unprofitable branches.