Revenue in the period was £50.5m, against £61.5m in the comparable 2017 period (FY2017: £115.3m).
The Group is reporting a profit before tax for the period of £4.5m, down on the comparative period in 2017 (HY2017: £7.1m; FY2017: £13.4m). Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were £2.0m (HY2017: £ 7.9m; FY2017: £14.8m).
Gross profit margin in the period amounted to 35.2%, compared to 32.2% in the same 2017 period, and 32.6% for the August 2017 financial year. The improvement in margin reflects the change in mix, with a greater percentage of revenues being derived from UK sales and a lesser amount from the lower margin FOB sales.
A statement from the company reads: “Although trading in the first half was lower when compared to 2017, we believe that in view of the sector disruption and upheaval, Character delivered a very solid performance in what has been a very turbulent time at the retail level.”
“We continue to have great strength and depth across our brands and a wide range of long-term customers and suppliers; potential concentration risk is well diversified.”
Leading in-house ranges include Peppa Pig, Stretch, Teletubbies and Scooby Doo and exclusive, third-party lines including Little Live Pets and Mashems – all continue to trade well. Core ranges will be strengthened as innovative product extensions are added.
Character also continues to add new ranges, such as the new line up of Pokémon products, to be launched at retail this summer, and a collection of new craze items, including Soft and Slo memory foam toys, Make Your Own Slime, Cup Cake Cuties and Mine iT.
Impulse buying at the right price point is a growing trend and Character has successfully tapped into this category with new craze lines being sourced and introduced regularly.
The statement continues: “Listings and support from our customers for our 2018 ranges have been very positive and many share our optimism for the prospects for our lines and sales in the coming Christmas season. Therefore, we are confident that the performance of our core ranges, together with new introductions, will result in further growth in demand for our products, in the calendar year ahead.”
“The directors remain optimistic that the business will see a return to its previous growth pattern during the second half of this financial year and this will be fully reflected and significantly strengthen the trading results for the financial year ending 31st August 2019.”