Kitbag dragged down by poor performers

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The Independent Online

The operator of online stores for football clubs including Barcelona, Manchester United and Chelsea revealed a loss today after it dropped prices to clear old stock. Kitbag, which is part of Findel, saw sales increase 15 per cent in the 26 weeks to 30 September but it made a £1.8m operating loss, compared with a £1.4m profit the previous year.

Its performance was hit after it cleared £300,000 of "obsolete" items such as outdated football strips, and profits were squeezed by a number of underperforming contracts. The division, which is due to start a new contract with Sunderland Football Club next year, said it was trying to renegotiate the contracts but they are likely to continue to hit profitability in the second half.

Kitbag's owner said current trading was flat despite recent promotions, adding that rapid growth had failed to translate into profitability.

Findel, which also owns door-to-door sales business Kleeneze and Express Gifts, said losses increased 81 per cent to £5.6m in the half-year, while sales were broadly flat at £255m.