Sales, including those from two new acquisitions – Silverminds Direct and Garden Bird Supplies – were 14.
% ahead of the same period last year, which is a considerable advance on the first half of the year, which saw group sales fall by 9%, after a disappointing spring season.
Chief executive Mark Dugdale said: ‘Despite the continued difficult trading environment, our customers are responding well to the new brand developments and enhanced product offerings we have introduced.
This, combined with the exciting performance of our latest acquisition and management’s continuing drive for cost-effective delivery, demonstrates that we are successfully implementing our strategy.
Highlights for the period included a strong autumn season from the Gardening Direct brand and a good performance by Flying Flowers over Christmas, with ‘significantly increased’ online sales and a positive response to new gift offers such as chocolates, teddy bears and pot plants.
Sales from the entertainment division (Listen2Books, Benham collectables and Silverminds Direct) were in line with expectations.
Sales from Garden Bird Supplies, acquired at the end of last year, were up 17%, showing the potential for further growth.