Increased first-half loss for Park Food cheers market: Seasonal deficit promises better year

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The Independent Online
SHARES in Park Food, the Christmas hampers company, responded positively to news that interim losses had deepened, writes Robert Cole.

Park usually makes losses in its first half because of the highly seasonal nature of its business. The stock market was encouraged because higher first-half losses indicate that Park will produce higher full-year profits.

The loss before tax for the six months to 30 September was pounds 4.7m, against losses last time of pounds 3.2m. The company's stockbroker, Smith New Court, forecasts that profit for the year to next March will be pounds 12m, up from pounds 10.3m.

Shares rose from 291p to 303p in early trading but settled back to close at 294p.

Park also increased the interim dividend from 2p to 2.5p. It paid 6p last full year but warned that the increase this time would not match the percentage rise at the halfway stage.

Peter Johnson, chairman and managing director of Park - who is also bidding to take control of Everton Football Club - said: 'Looking forward to Christmas 1994, orders processed to date are showing significant increases over last year.'

He said the company received orders from one million homes that pay for hampers by weekly instalments. He is targeting a further 13 million homes for future sales.

Last year the spend per hamper rose 11 per cent to pounds 151.

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