'There is an air of quiet confidence about the board,' said Alan Green, joint chairman, although he warned that current trading was still tough. 'The high street is not busy, although it will turn sometime, and we are now lean and fit.'
Orders are below last year's levels, due to caution among its retail customers and the group's decision to drop some clients because of concern about slow payment of accounts.
The group, which designs, manufactures and sells women's clothes, made pounds 1.03m, reversing a pounds 4.7m loss in the previous period, despite a slight drop in sales from pounds 40.9m to pounds 39.3m. The previous year's loss was partly due to a pounds 2.5m provision for rationalisation and stock write-downs. In 1993, there was a pounds 277,000 charge for closing two of its British shops, offset by the pounds 425,000 gain on an insurance claim for a fire. It also lost pounds 322,000 on the sale of businesses.
A policy of marking down stocks cut the amount held from pounds 5m to pounds 4.6m, despite a rise in outlets, while debts owed to the group were cut by 22 per cent to pounds 6.6m. These working capital reductions meant borrowings halved to pounds 3.11m, or 37 per cent of shareholders' funds.
As well as the British closures, which leave it with 23 shops, the group also closed its three US outlets. But the number of concessions in department stores rose from five to 46.
The final dividend, passed last time, was restored to 2p, making 3p (2p) for the year. Earnings per share were 8.8p, compared with a 40.66p loss last time.Reuse content