Flying Flowers blossoms: Direct mail florist beats forecasts and improves payout

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The Independent Online
FLYING Flowers, the direct mail florist, has comfortably beaten the profit forecast that accompanied its flotation last August.

Pre-tax profits doubled in the year to 31 December to pounds 1.1m, 17 per cent above expectations.

FF's first dividend payment of 1.1p gross is also 25 per cent ahead of what shareholders were promised when the shares were listed.

Walter Goldsmith, chairman, said sales for St Valentine's Day yesterday were double last year's. However, Mother's Day and Christmas are much busier periods for FF because it specialises in carnations, not red roses.

In the week preceding Christmas, FF mailed 200,000 bunches of flowers boxed in polystyrene cartons. Overall turnover increased 31 per cent to pounds 7.1m.

Mr Goldsmith said the rise resulted from better management of the company's database of customer information and greater advertising expenditure.

FF has also struck marketing agreements with Argos, Clinton Cards, Great Universal Stores, Barclaycard and the Post Office.

The shares joined the market at 65p and in the past six months have risen nearly 50 per cent. Yesterday the price rose 1p to close at 96p.

Townsley & Co, the company's stockbroker, predicts that FF will make pounds 1.45m of taxable profit this year - equivalent to earnings of 6.4p per share.

Mr Goldsmith, who is also chairman of Betterware, the consumer products group, said: 'We see no end to the trend of expanding growth.'

He added that the company was investigating the possibility of expanding its service from flowers into other gifts.

(Photograph omitted)

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