Profits leap at troubled Newcastle

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The Independent Online
NEWCASTLE United, the Premier League football club rocked by a row over insulting remarks by two executives, yesterday tried to draw a line under the episode as it unveiled a strong rise in interim profits.

Operating profits rose 56 per cent to pounds 10.3m for the six months to January, thanks to a strong rise in television revenues. Participation in the European Champions league contributed pounds 5.5m, compared to the pounds 3.6m from the UEFA Cup the previous season. However sales of replica kits and merchandise were disappointing.

Newcastle wants to expand its retail operation from the North-East, where it has reached saturation. It wants to expand its mail order operation and is considering setting up new stand-alone retail outlets.

Freddie Fletcher, group chief executive, said the controversy surrounding Freddie Shepherd and Douglas Hall had damaged sales. Neither director will receive any pay-off following their resignation.

Outlook, page 23