Johnson Cleaners sees no sign of sustained recovery

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The Independent Online
JOHNSON Group Cleaners, the largest dry cleaning company in the UK and US, yesterday poured cold water on claims that there is economic recovery on both sides of the Atlantic, writes Russell Hotten.

Announcing increased half-year results, Terry Greer, group chairman, said he saw 'no evidence of a sustainable improvement in trading conditions in our markets'.

Operating profit for the half-year to 26 June rose 7.2 per cent to pounds 9.2m, while group turnover of pounds 81.7m was up 9.3 per cent. Both increases were largely due to a strengthening dollar and better than expected contributions from Imperial & Queen Laundries, bought for pounds 2.9m in January. With these two factors stripped out, turnover and operating profit increased by 0.9 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively. Pre-tax profits rose 17 per cent thanks to property sales and a lower interest charge. The dividend was held at 7p.

Mr Greer said there was a satisfactory increase in profits and turnover at the textile rental business, which supplies working clothes to UK companies and has about 10 per cent of the market. Imperial & Queen Laundries contributed pounds 260,000 of operating profits.