Total group revenue increased by 6.0% to £784.7m versus the 52 week comparative and by 5.5% on a like-for-like basis, excluding the non-comparable periods for newly opened stores. Having seen a reduction in the rate of gross margin in the first half of 1.6%, an equivalent increase in the second half resulted in an unchanged rate for the year of 53.0%.
Operating profit was up by 3.1% to £102.2m, after accounting for losses of £6.8m from the expanded customer recruitment programme, international trading and the Simply Be/Jacamo stores. Excluding these items core UK home shopping profit rose by 7.9% to £109.0m, despite the tough economic environment for consumers.
Profit before taxation was £96.4m (2012, £96.9m) but was up 2.6% to £95.1m after exclud-ing the impact of the 53rd week last year and the fair value adjustments to financial instru-ments.
Adjusted earnings per share were 28.15p, almost identical to last year despite a slightly higher tax charge of 17.6% (2012, 16.4%). The board is proposing a final dividend of 8.23 pence per share, up 6.3% on last year, giving a total dividend for the year of 13.68 pence up by 5.0%, and covered 2.1 times.
Net borrowings at 2 March 2013 reduced to £188.7m (2012, £192.5m) despite the continu-ing higher level of capital expenditure of £25.0m, primarily for online and stores develop-ment.
Net finance costs increased from £6.4m to £7.1m, covered 14 times by operating profit. Gearing has fallen from 48% to 42% on net assets which have risen by 10.9% to £446.0m.
Chairman’s Statement 2013
We are pleased to report that the group made good trading progress throughout last year and that this has continued into the new financial year. This is despite the continuing diffi-culties in the economy as a whole and for consumers and retailers in particular.
We have achieved these positive results by maintaining a clear focus on improving the product, presentation, value and service to our customers.
In addition we have invested heavily in our online systems, new customer recruitment, international expansion and concept stores which have the potential to be significant growth drivers in the medium term, although they reduce profits in the short term. The early signs from these activities look promising.
N Brown Group
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