Doulton sales slip

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ROYAL DOULTON, the fine-china maker, yesterday blamed the costs of a major restructure and disappointing sales for a massive dent in its half-year earnings. The group unveiled a pounds 14.4m loss before tax in the six months to 30 June compared with a pounds 2.7m profit at the same time last year.

Sales fell to pounds 90.3m from pounds 108.5m, largely due to competition from rivals and the group's decision to pull out of selling dinner sets and figurines through cut-price discount retailers. Its shares fell 4p to 107p.