Bluebird profits dive as unsold stock builds up

Bluebird Toys, once a darling of the stock market, yesterday announced a 35 per cent drop in profits as a slump in the British toy market left the company with stocks of unsold goods.

The company, which designs and sells miniature toys based on Walt Disney, Batman and other characters, said pre-tax profits before exceptional charges were pounds 11.03m, down from pounds 17.8m a year earlier and the pounds 19.7m made in 1994. The shares gained 2.5p to 185p, but stand well adrift of the 375p peak they hit just before Christmas in 1995.

Bluebird's results come after a mixed year for toy retailers. Many reported lower-than-expected sales at Christmas, when they can make as much as half of a full year's profit, as consumers held back on spending. Hamleys, the UK's largest toy store, said in January it was disappointed with a 3 per cent year-on-year rise in Christmas sales.

Despite the profit setback, however, Martin Bunting, chairman, said the stock problems at Bluebird had largely been overcome. New products such as miniature Disney toys and toys based on Marvel comics such as Spiderman should lift sales this year, he said. Stock levels this year are "much closer to optimum''.

He said: "We have a very focused, newly streamlined and cash-generative business which should allow us to capitalise on the many opportunities for the continued development of Bluebird."

The company took an exceptional charge of pounds 1.1m to close a distribution and manufacturing site in Wales.

Mr Bunting said: "The decision to leave Dragonparc has been a difficult one to make and is a result of changes in market conditions and a consequential change in the nature of our business."

Shareholders will receive an unchanged 9p dividend, covered less than twice by earnings per share that fell from 24.2p to 16.4p. Bluebird intends to seek a further share buy-back authorisation at the next annual general meeting.

peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

IT Project manager - Web E-commerce

£65000 Per Annum Benefits + bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: If you are...

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits