Cantors shares slide as new stores restrain profits

Lower sales during the warm summer and costs associated with the opening of 11 new out-of-town stores caused a slump in half-year profits at Cantors, the furniture retailer based in Sheffield. The poor results caused the shares to slide 17p to 131

p.

After a successful trial at the Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield, Cantors has been moving its stores out of town and has 24 outlets in out-of-town malls or retail parks. The company spent £450,000 on solicitors and legal expenses relating to the opening of the new stores.

Some did not trade during the period as they were still being fitted. However, Cantors remains confident that out of town remains a more attractive prospect than the high street. "That is where the future lies," Nicholas Jeffrey, chief executive, said.

Mr Jeffrey said that Cantors' sales had suffered during June, July and August. They had picked up in the autumn, but not enough to make up the lost ground. Consumer confidence remained fragile and, although second-half sales had improved on those of the first six months, they were still not satisfactory.

Trading at Christmas and the new year had improved, the company added.

Pre-tax profits for the half-year to October fell from £563,000 last year to £105,000 this time, on sales down from £29.8m to £29.1m.

The interim dividend was maintained at 1p.

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