Fire puts Jacques Vert back into black

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The Independent Online
JACQUES VERT, the designer, manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer of women's clothes, returned to profit in the first six months to 24 October.

However, it only managed a profit with help from an insurance payout on fire damage.

JV made profits before tax of pounds 186,000 for the period compared to losses this time last year of pounds 125,000.

JV's interim profit-and-loss account shows a pounds 19,000 exceptional charge. This, however, is the balance of the insurance credit against losses on disposals of businesses.

Malcolm Heald, finance director, said he could not reveal the exact figures, but indicated that the credit and charge were both of the order of pounds 200,000.

Losses last year surprised the City. JV asked its former finance director, Sashi Mylvaganam, to step down.

Operating profits were pounds 478,000 compared to pounds 243,000. Control of costs during the past 12 months has been behind much of the improvement. Under guidance from Mr Heald, JV has shut one factory and closed one of its designer label lines, Alain Cannelle.

JV's cost of sales as a proportion of its turnover came down from 60 per cent to 55 per cent.

The company is gloomy about prospects for recovery and said the knock to consumer confidence caused by Black Wednesday pushed sales down 30 per cent. JV is paying a 1p dividend against 2p at half time and nothing for the full year. Mr Heald said he hoped the company could restart full- year payments this year.