Time Products in good tick

MAGNUS GRIMOND

Time Products, the watches and handbags distributor, yesterday painted a rosy picture of the future as it reported a strong opening half to the year.

The chairman, Marcus Margulies, said that he viewed the future with confidence as the group continued to focus on brand enhancement and concentrate its efforts on areas that would provide long-term growth for the company.

The luxury watch operations in the UK and US - which have expanded rapidly in recent years - had shown more growth, the chairman said. "Our Judith Leiber division in the US has made further satisfactory progress. The new collection of Judith Leiber fashion jeweller has been well received."

In 1993, Time paid $17m (pounds 10.5m) for Leiber, which makes handbags retailing at between $2,000 and $3,000 each. The plan at the time of the acquisition was to use Leiber to launch an international luxury goods business based on women's accessories.

His comments accompanied half-way figures to July showing pre-tax profits up 18 per cent to pounds 5.54m, taking earnings per share from 5.85p to 7.02p. The interim dividend is raised 7.7 per cent to 3.5p. Turnover advanced from pounds 37.2m to pounds 38.6m, while operating profits rose from pounds 4.55m to pounds 5.40m.

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