Filofax result stays upwardly mobile: Surge in Continental sales helps the symbol of the 1980s turn in strong profits in the 1990s

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BOOMING sales in Continental Europe helped Filofax, the maker of personal organisers, to boost its annual profits almost fivefold last year.

The company, whose products became a symbol of the 1980s yuppie phenomenon, yesterday disclosed a taxable surplus of pounds 2.1m for the year to 31 March, against a pounds 441,000 profit for the previous 15 months.

The result reflected a 39 per cent jump in sales on the Continent, pushing overall turnover from pounds 11m to pounds 14.4m thanks to soaring demand for ring-binder organisers in France, Germany and Scandinavia as well as improved distribution and better awareness of the brand.

Despite the recession, sales in Britain rose by 17 per cent. The home market accounts for more than a third of worldwide sales, but its share is declining due to faster overseas growth.

'The market for ring-binder organisers remained buoyant throughout the developed world. Although our performance has varied by region, in general we have either grown in line with the market or gained market share,' Filofax said.

The company believes its customers' profile is similar across most of its market, ranging from the US to Japan. About two-thirds of Filofax buyers are young women in junior management or clerical jobs.

'This is not a product that is bought by top professional or wealthy people. It appeals more to the aspiring classes rather than those who have already arrived,' Robin Field, Filofax's chief executive, said.

There was a pounds 204,000 profit contribution from the acquisition of Lefax.

The group ended the year with pounds 3.3m net cash and is looking for further acquisitions.

Earnings surged from 2.7p to 7.7p. The total dividend has been lifted from 0.5p to 1.25p. The shares rose 2p to 120p yesterday.

(Photograph omitted)