Aga feels the heat as demand cools across Europe


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The Independent Online

Aga Rangemaster has warned of cooling demand in the UK and Europe for its upmarket cookers, as the debt crisis hits consumer confidence.

The maker of the cast-iron Aga cookers said autumn trading had been "very tough" – below last year's seasonal peak levels. Following a disappointing performance between 1 July and 10 November, the group expects full-year revenues to be lower than last year's £259m.

This led Execution Noble to slash its 2011 pre-tax profit forecast by £0.6m to £6.9m. However, William McGrath, the chief executive of Aga Rangemaster – which has 15 brands including Fired Earth, Falcon and Heartland – stressed that the company had a "strong cash position", expected to be close to last year's £35m. Its sales remained robust in London, boosted by it selling 750 of the Aga Total Control cookers – which cost about £9,500 and have built-in computers – since May.

But Aga Rangemaster was hit by lower demand outside the capital and in the rest of Europe, as uncertainty over Greece and Italy took its toll.