Fall in footwear demand holds back Peter Black

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The Independent Online
POOR sales of casual footwear, luggage and sponge-bags marred an otherwise solid annual performance from Peter Black Holdings, the Yorkshire-based personal products supplier to Marks & Spencer, writes Patrick Hosking.

Profits before tax fell from pounds 7.2m to pounds 6.6m in the year to 30 May. Sales of the slimmed-down business fell from pounds 126m to pounds 106m but the net margin improved from 5.7 per cent to 6.2 per cent.

One problem was the footwear and accessories division, which suffered a 5 per cent fall in sales and a substantial decline in pre- tax profits to pounds 2.6m.

Toiletries and cosmetics produced a slightly smaller contribution of pounds 3.2m after pounds 200,000 of reorganisation costs.

The small distribution division - with an increased contribution of pounds 800,000 - showed promise. It has just won a contract to distribute non-food products for Sainsbury's Savacentres.

The final dividend was up 5 per cent to 2.17p, making a 2.94p total.