BBC commercial profits fall in 'challenging conditions'

The collapse of Woolworths and the impact of the recession on foreign travel contributed to a £32 million drop in profits for the BBC's commercial arm today.

BBC Worldwide accounts show operating profits - after exceptional items - were down to £85.7 million for 08/09, compared to the previous year's £117.7 million.

However, underlying profit grew in line with increased turnover to £150 million, the accounts published today show.

Overall sales also passed the £1 billion level for the first time, which chief executive John Smith called "a very significant moment in the life of BBC Worldwide".

"All the more so as the growth in sales has been achieved in trading conditions more challenging than any of us can remember," he added.