Home shopping puts Kleeneze into profit

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The Independent Online
FOCUSING on its core strengths in home shopping has allowed Kleeneze, producer of the Innovations catalogue, to return to profits and pay its first dividend since 1988.

Robin Klein, the chief executive who is set to become executive chairman, said the first phase of the group's 'shrink to grow' strategy, involved selling peripheral operations and expanding its direct-selling operations. That has involved acquisitions - such as Xtend, George Davies's mail order business - as well as the introduction of specialist catalogues for museums. Further acquisitions, possibly funded by a rights issue, are possible.

The group reported a pounds 1m pre-tax profit for the year to August compared with a pounds 456,000 loss last year. It is also paying a 1p dividend from 6.08p earnings per share (3.18p loss).

The results were helped by a pounds 470,000 profit on disposals, compared with a pounds 149,000 loss. But profits from its continuing businesses rose more than tenfold to pounds 1m.

Sales from the Innovations catalogue, which has 4 million customers on its database, rose pounds 5m to pounds 27m. The group's share price soared in the summer when it launched a charger for ordinary batteries.

The Kleeneze catalogue more than doubled sales to pounds 18.3m. That was partly because it added about 4,000 extra agents who are on commission.

Shares were unchanged at 243p.

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