THE CHARACTER GROUP PLC
6th September 2013
The Board is pleased to report that the Group's trading performance in the second half of the financial year ended 31 August 2013 was satisfactory; the Board anticipates that the results for the year will be in line with market expectations and with the loss reported in the first half year reversed.
Character continues to witness solid growth from its international sales. Its current basket of licenses and enhanced product portfolio of both distributed and own developed products, together with planned new innovative introductions coming on stream in the autumn/winter and spring sales seasons (already very well received by the trade), should underpin Character's position as one of the UK's leading toy companies.
Although we are only at the start of the new financial year, we are encouraged to report that the Group's forecasted sales remain on track for the 2013 calendar year, which should lead to a substantially better result for the 2014 financial year.
18th January 2012
As is well known, Christmas trading was generally very difficult for all trading companies and presented many challenges.
Acknowledging the poor economic outlook early, the Group took action in the first part of the financial year to ensure that stock levels were not excessive whilst costs were reduced.
We believe that the Group's key brands have held up well with no substantial casualties. This is encouraging when compared to the market as a whole. Around 60% of Group sales derive from own-developed and branded products and this has helped Character to maintain its position as one of the UK's leading toy companies.
It is especially pleasing therefore to note that despite lower sales to date, when these are added to our internal forecasts for the remainder of the financial year ending 31 August 2012, the Group is still likely to produce a result in line with current market expectations.
Looking ahead, it is of course more difficult than normal to forecast in these conditions and added to the complexity is the possible disruption to trade yet to be felt by the events leading up to both the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics.
Despite these potentially adverse factors, the Directors believe that our key brands will continue to do well through the year and that some new and exceptionally exciting new product introductions, which are to be launched to the trade at next week's International Toy Fair at Olympia (24-26 January), will add both store presence as well as substantial sales and may even create a new toy category suited to the technological age.
Whilst the results for the current financial year rely heavily on July and August sales, we are confident that our new introductions plus an increased retail presence giving us wider distribution should enable us to meet our forecasts for the year as a whole.
We look forward to keeping shareholders updated with developments over the coming year.
Preliminary Results Year Ended 31st August 2011
29th November 2011
Group Sales up 11.4% to £94.95 million (2010:£85.23m)
Group Profit before Tax up 19.8% to £9.05 million (2010: £7.55m)
Outlook: "There is no longer any doubt that Christmas trade has suffered to date as a direct result of the abnormally temperate climate but also by the exceptionally difficult retail market in general."
"Looking ahead, whilst we cannot influence the overall toy industry, and retail spending in total, we believe that by continuing to 'refresh' our product lines at retail and by marketing our products in innovative ways, we shall be relatively successful when compared to the industry as a whole."
"Bearing in mind the tough economic conditions, we have reduced our sales forecasts for the current financial year and taken steps to reduce our total costs accordingly. We expect, however, to continue to be cash generative and provided we see no further deterioration in sales, we also expect to maintain our profitability for 2012 at a similar level to the financial year ended 31 August 2011."
"We have been in business now for twenty years and on behalf of the Board welcome all new employees to the Group. I would also like to thank those colleagues who have been long standing members of the Character family, some from the earliest years, for not only their hard work but for their loyalty and friendship which has helped Character overcome a tough and challenging environment for everyone at home and internationally," Richard King, Chairman Character Group.
Major Product Launch and Trading Update
19th January 2011
The Group, through its principal trading subsidiary Character Options Limited ("Character Options"), is pleased to announce its move into the toy construction category, which is one of the most popular and fastest growing areas within the toy industry.
The new Character Building range, based on licensed themes has been developed internally and will be branded under our own 'CB - Character Building' brand.
We have focused on establishing a brand offering that is designed to capture the imagination of both the consumers as well the toy market as a whole.
Character Building ranges will be released in time for Spring this year and will feature unique figures and play sets from Doctor Who and H.M. Armed Forces, two of the Group's leading licences.
The Character Building portfolio, which will be exhibited at The Toy Fair next week (Olympia, 25-27 January), will instantly stand out in the market place, as each licensed 3D micro-figure is brought to life through sculpted facial features and play sets which will be uniquely tailored to both the licence and theme.
It is anticipated that the Character Building brand will grow rapidly and become a significant factor in the continued growth of Character as a whole.
Character Group's Joint Managing Director, Jon Diver said: "The Character Building ranges will be produced to the same high standard as our current ongoing collections, which are renowned in the marketplace for their quality and detail."
"Distinctive to the Character Building range will be the use of texture on some of the building blocks, pivotal in recreating each environment with a much more natural look. This innovative styling gives a new option to the child constructor who will now have a construction toy that has all the excitement and appeal that licensed property features can bring with them."
"This new project represents a major investment for us and we are delighted to be increasing our highly successful Doctor Who® and H.M. Armed Forces® portfolios yet further."
"In addition to the investment in product development, our commitment will also include a fully integrated launch plan to coincide with the transmission of the new Doctor Who Series 6."
Group Trading Update
At today's Annual General Meeting (11.00am, 19 January 2011) Richard King, Chairman, the Character Group will provide the following update to shareholders:
"I am pleased to announce that all the Group's key brands sold well and that sales to Christmas were very strong. Despite the set back from the inclement weather, revenues for the first six months of the current financial year (September 2010 to February 2011) are likely to increase by at least 33% against the comparable period in 2010.
"Our key brands (as detailed in the published accounts) - ZhuZhu Pets, Kung Zhu, Peppa Pig, Doctor Who, H.M. Armed Forces, Fireman Sam, Postman Pat, Let's Cook and Scooby-Doo, - have all performed well and shall continue to be part of our product offering in 2011. These ranges will be joined by Bob the Builder, Squinkies and Character Building.
"The feedback, enthusiasm and demand to our 2011 product line up from our customers continues to be very encouraging, especially for Character Building our new construction toy range. All our lines will be exhibited at the forthcoming London Toy Fair next week.
"As we have already highlighted, the Group will continue to focus on its core strategy - developing key brands through strong innovative product introductions which are priced to sell well in the current difficult economic conditions. This will see the business exploit its current success by developing cost efficient, high quality, innovative and 'in-demand' product.
"Our business is not without its challenges but recent history indicates that, provided we continue to bring new innovative product to the market which is manufactured to a high standard and provides good value for money, we should be able to cope with the difficulties of far eastern manufacturing and currency fluctuations, whilst at the same time building our market share.
"We continue to try to become more efficient and reduce cost and, to that end, we are looking to purchase new warehouse facilities in the North of England and new office facilities in the South. Both purchases should result in a more efficient and economic operation.
"At this stage, following this strong performance of our product ranges at Christmas, we believe that the Group will continue to make good progress and deliver another solid performance in both this financial year (ending 31 August 2011) and the 2011 calendar year as a whole.
Character Options Doctor Who Character Building range.
Preliminary Results for the Year Ended 31 August 2010 - 2nd December 2010
STATEMENT BY THE CHAIRMAN, RICHARD KING
I am delighted to report a very strong performance for the business in the financial year under review and this trend is set to continue as we approach the end of one of the busiest times of the calendar year for the industry as a whole.
Also, as a Board, we are proud that our team has successfully created a strong portfolio of product which has been clearly met with confidence, enthusiasm and demand by both our customers and the consumer.
Our strategy of focusing on developing and refreshing a portfolio of lead brands remains key to our approach and the on-going future success of the business as a whole. By bringing new, innovative and exciting product to market, and building market share, we remain well positioned to further develop our business both at home and internationally.
Financials for the year ended 31 August 2010
The on-going success of our own brands and key distributed lines is reflected in both our revenue and profitability.
Group sales in the year amounted to £85.23 million, up 24.2% on 2009 sales of £68.62 million. International sales grew in line with UK sales.
Reflecting the significant improvement in trading for the Group as a result of a strong product offering, Group profit before tax amounted to £7.55 million against a loss of £2.17 million in 2009 (which included an exceptional cost of £1.06 million, relating to the bad debt suffered from the Woolworths Administration in 2009).
Basic earnings per share were 20.12 pence compared to a loss of 4.09 pence the year to August 2009.
This iconic brand has been refreshed and relaunched following the broadcast of the new series, which introduced a new Doctor. 2011 will see split scheduling, thus allowing broadcast in the all important Christmas quarter.
The Group average number of employees over the year was 156: 98 of these are based in the UK and the remaining 58 in Hong Kong and China (2009: 100 and 61 respectively). Once again, on behalf of the Board and all stakeholders, I would like to thank all our people for their hard work and commitment in what continues to be difficult and unprecedented times for everyone at home and around the globe.
What's ahead for 2011?
Next year promises to be a busy and exciting time for the Company both in terms of our own-developed brands and those we distribute and already we are seeing the 2011 Spring/Summer portfolio building on the success of 2010.
To date, we are very encouraged with the feedback from our customers to our 2011 product line up. Group sales in the first quarter of the current financial year are in line with management expectations and, with enthusiasm and demand coming from our key customers, we expect to deliver another solid performance next year.
However, the Board is mindful of the number of external macro factors which could, once again, slow global and UK economic recovery. The increases in raw material and freight costs are already feeding through and next year's programmed rise in UK VAT will add some pressure on margins in the short-term. There is no doubt that these challenges will prove tough across all businesses over the next few years but we have to work within these parameters in order to sustain a recovery for UK plc.
As a group, we will continue to focus on our core strategy - developing our key brands through strong innovative product introductions, enhanced marketing, promotional initiatives and pricing to sell well in the current difficult economic conditions. This will see the business exploit its current success by developing cost efficient, high quality, innovative and 'in-demand' product. Our aim is to trade through these difficult times, whilst enhancing our position in the market place.
Preliminary Results for the Year Ended 31 August 2009 - 1st December 2009
STATEMENT BY THE CHAIRMAN, RICHARD KING
Following the loss of a major customer and despite the unusually difficult trading conditions, a significant turnaround was achieved during the second half of the financial year. I am, therefore, pleased to report that, against this backdrop and the tough environment continuing, we traded profitably during the second half of the year. Whilst we have not been able to totally reverse the reported first half loss, which also took into account the well publicised problems for the Group with the loss of Woolworths, we were able to produce an operating profit of £1.59 million for the second half, thereby reducing the net operating loss for the full year ended 31 August 2009 to £2.15 million.
Group sales in the year amounted to £68.6 million, down 16.6% compared with turnover in the same period in 2008 of £82.3 million.
The operating loss in the same period was £2.15 million, compared to a profit of £5.3 million in the 2008 financial year. This included an exceptional cost of £1.06 million, relating to the bad debt suffered from the Woolworths Administration. The loss before tax, on the same basis, was £2.17 million, compared to a profit of £5.14 million for the previous year. Gross margin was 29.2%, compared to 35.8% for the year-ended August 2008.
Basic loss per share was 4.09 pence per share, compared to a profit of 12.03 pence per share for the financial year ended August 2008.
Stocks decreased from £9.8 million at the August 2008 year-end to £7.04 million at end of the 2009 financial year.
Cash and cash equivalents at 31 August 2009 amounted to £11.4 million, against £17.8 million in the 2008 comparable period. The Group currently has a net cash position of £3 million and has substantial unused finance facilities available.
Review of the year to August 2009
As indicated to stakeholders at our AGM in January, Character did not escape the tough trading environment at both the consumer and retail level in the all important run up to Christmas 2008. Additionally, we had to face the drastic changes to the marketplace following the closure of Woolworths, which affected not only our Christmas 2008 sales but had an even greater impact on our Spring 2009 business following this closure.
Therefore, it would be fair to report that the financial year being reported upon is one of two halves:
In the first half-year (including the pre-Christmas period 2008) we experienced:
As a business, we had to consolidate and re-group, whilst our focus was to deliver a portfolio that met both the new market aspirations and consumer demand at the same time as we had to continue to deliver service and support to both our customers and suppliers, who were all being squeezed by the more difficult conditions.
During the second half-year:
Whist we will continue to monitor costs and focus on efficiencies and productivity, the overall repositioning undertaken to date, which began to deliver benefits in the year under review, will become more evident in the current financial year and we expect to see the Group move forward from here...
We are all looking forward to the new series of Doctor Who, an iconic brand in its own right, being aired in April 2010. Having rested the toys this year, we have great hopes for the launch of our new range which will coincide with the new BBC series being aired.
We are proud to point out that the product line up for each of the brands above has been designed and developed in house by our own teams and that nearly all our brands figure in the top 50 in the UK. This is a testament to the skills and market intelligence of our people around the Group...
With just under a month to go before Christmas, it would be brave and possibly even foolhardy to make a forecast at this stage on the final outcome of the current festive trading season; we only have to look at the disruption that the Woolworths failure caused in the market last year, coupled with the general malaise that existed across many industries, to know that such predictions at these times are unreliable and unwise.
This being said, looking ahead, the Board remains optimistic that as a business Character Group is strong and well positioned, both product wise and financially, to further develop its business and improve profitability going forward.
Dealings by a Major Shareholder, the Company and Certain Directors - 10th July 2009
Further to the announcement made by the Company regarding possible dealings by 3i Group plc, the Company and certain of the directors of the Company on 7 July 2009, the Company announces that the following transactions in issued ordinary shares of 5p each in the capital of the Company ("Ordinary Shares") took place through the market today: ...
... 3i Group plc has sold its entire shareholding in the Company, amounting to 11,525,898 Ordinary Shares, being approximately 27.8 per cent. of the current issued share capital of the Company carrying voting rights, at a price of 30.15 pence per share...
... Richard King, Chairman The Character Group commented:
"It remains the Group's strategy to seek to enhance shareholder value through the repurchase of its own shares, when appropriate. Having taken into account the Group's current cash flow position, the Directors believe that it was in the interest of all the shareholders for the Company to take advantage of the rare opportunity to acquire a substantial block of shares in Character following 3i's decision to sell its shares in the Company. At the same time, certain of the Directors have also shown their underlying confidence in the business by purchasing the balance of the 3i holding and thereby significantly increasing their interests in Character."
"Character continues to develop its own product line, leaving it well poised within the market-place to build on its position, whilst maintaining its financial strength which will enable the Group to be ready to take advantage of its market position as more normal times return."
Possible Dealings by a Major Shareholder, the Company and Certain Directors - 7th July 2009
The Board announces that the Company and certain of the directors are in discussion with 3i Group plc ("3i") about the possible acquisition of the entire 3i shareholding, amounting to 11,525,898 ordinary shares of 5p each in the capital of the Company ("Ordinary Shares"), representing approximately 27.8 per cent. of the current issued share capital of the Company carrying voting rights (as at the date of this announcement).
Any Ordinary Shares acquired by the Company would be purchased for cancellation.
A further announcement will be made in due course.
Interim Results - 28th April 2009
Selected highlights of the statement from Character Group Chairman Richard King concerning the interim results for the six months ended 28 February 2009:-
The Group has had its share of difficulties which, as anticipated, resulted in a trading loss for the first half of this financial year.
However, I am pleased to note that, despite the unprecedented economic turmoil, the Group is beginning to benefit from its cost control programme and new product ranges coming on stream, both of which provide an improved trading platform. Overall, we have renewed confidence for the medium term even though the outlook will remain challenging.
Group sales in the six month period amounted to £37.8 million, down 22% compared with the same period in 2008 of £48.6 million.
The operating loss in the same period was £3.74 million compared to a profit of £3.4 million for the similar period in 2008. This included an exceptional loss of £1.06 million, being the bad debt suffered due to Woolworths going into Administration. The loss before tax on the same basis was £3.84 million, compared to a profit of £3.25 million at the half-year point in 2008. Basic loss per share was 8.44 pence per share compared to earnings per share of 5.51 pence at the 2008 half-year point and 12.03 pence at the financial year-ended August 2008.
Gross margin was 29.0%, compared to 38.8% in the comparative period in 2008 and 35.8% at the year-ended August 2008.
Stocks decreased from £9.8 million at the August 2008 year end to £5.05 million at end of the half-year being reported.
Cash and cash equivalents at 28 February 2009 amounted to £3.8 million, against £5.4 million in the 2008 comparable period. The Group currently has no borrowings and has unused finance facilities available totalling approximately £5.65 million.
As we indicated to stakeholders at our AGM in January, against a very challenging and sombre economic backdrop, Character has not escaped the tough trading environment at both the consumer and retail level, with revenues on a like for like basis during the all important Christmas trading period at 35% below the comparative 2007 season.
We have had to consolidate and re-group, whilst continuing to deliver a portfolio that meets the current market aspirations and consumer demand, whilst also delivering service and support to our customers.
To sum up Group trading to date, it would be fair to report that the six month period has already been one of two halves.
In the first four months of the half-year (being the pre-Christmas period):
In January and February, (the last two months of the first half of the current financial year) we experienced:
Most encouraging has been the fact that, whereas Group sales up to Christmas fell by a greater percentage than the general fall in the market as a whole, Group sales since Christmas have more or less reflected the marketplace. In March, we exceeded internal budgets for both sales and margins. Subject to a return to a more normal marketplace, acceptable margin levels should be maintained during the second half of the financial year. Our large product development programme, especially with our HM Armed Forces range, which is being launched within days, puts us in a strong position to take advantage of any uplift in sales that occurs.
As a business, we will continue to monitor costs and focus on efficiencies and productivity; we have already reduced stock levels, personnel and, by preserving cash and maintaining a strong balance sheet, remain cash positive with unused financial facilities available and we have placed ourselves in the strong position of being able to take advantage of a return to normal market conditions.
Whilst we anticipate trading profitably during the remainder of the financial year, we do not expect to recover the losses of the first half, in full. However, we do believe that we are capable of making progress throughout the remainder of the calendar year and, despite the market remaining difficult, we shall maintain our position as one of the largest players in the toy and games market.
Character to Release Terminator Salvation Action Figures - 25th February 2009
The Character Group, now in a 'gap year' from Doctor Who toys, have announced that they are to release a new range of action figures to tie in with the new Terminator Salvation movie.
The figures will be in 3.5, 7 and 10 inch scales and will include the main characters from the cult movie franchise originally featuring the now Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenneger. Expect also action figures of the original T-600 and advanced T-800 type robots.
The new range will include at least some toys similar to those developed through Character's BBC Worldwide Doctor Who licence, for example the Terminator Voice Changer Helmet.
Though new releases of Doctor Who toys could be somewhat less frequent, 2009 is set to be an extremely busy year for Character with the current launches of new ranges of Postman Pat and Scooby Doo toys, forthcoming launches of the HM Armed Forces and Terminator Salvation figures, and thats not to mention the Peppa Pig, High School Musical and Hannah Montana lines.
Whilst the latest Terminator movie is set for release at the end of May, the Terminator Salvation figures will be available in June.
Trading Update - 21st January 2009
In-line with the majority of our peers as well as the retail consumer trade in general the Group, as we expected, experienced a difficult Christmas trading period with sales down by 35% against the comparable period in 2007.
There have been endless column inches and news programmes detailing the difficult market, both in the UK and internationally and against this backdrop, Character was not able to escape the consequences of negative consumer sentiment which resulted in poor trading.
Additionally, the business was hit by the demise of Woolworths, one of its largest UK customers. Indeed, it is a credit to our management team that Character was able to reduce its exposure to this retailer from in excess of £5 million in September 2008 to around £1 million at the time of the Woolworths store closures; at the same time we managed to reduce our total stock levels which included the additional stocks purchased to service the Woolworths account.
From a general perspective, we are going through a difficult trading period with new adventures and challenges coming forward each week. For example, this week has brought new lows to the banking sector which is bound to have a knock on effect in the consumer market. It would take a brave person to forecast the next few months in virtually any business arena or around the globe.
The Group has its share of difficulties with such issues as adverse currency movements, cost of goods and services and potentially certain customers' solvency all being of paramount importance.
However, Character is also privileged to have many trading advantages which, as a Board we believe, will hopefully help the business overcome the trading adversities which virtually every business now has to face. Whilst it is far too early in the trading cycle to be able to forecast revenues and profitability, there is no doubt that the first half of the current financial year will show a loss due to the lower sales in general, increased promotional costs and the one-off losses relating to the Woolworths account.
This being said, the Group has maintained a strong and healthy balance sheet; remains cash positive; has no bank borrowings and has substantial unused working capital facilities available to it. Therefore we are optimistic that we are not restricted by the current financial turmoil.
Indeed, as we look forward, Character is in a very fortunate position of having lower than customary stock levels, a programme to keep costs under control and, most importantly, a strong product offering, including many new products developed in-house.
An example of this is our new HM Armed Forces range which has the potential to fill the void caused by the current lack of authentic military-inspired toys in the action toy figure market. We are delighted to have worked with the Armed Forces and the MOD to create an inspirational range that portrays the correct ethos of its constituent services. The range will be unveiled to the trade next week at The London Toy Fair and the full launch at retail of HM Armed Forces will take place on VE day (8 May 2009).
When Character adds its HM Armed Forces product line up for 2009 to new products for Doctor Who based on the 2010 series, the new products recently launched internationally for Scooby Doo, and the refreshed range for Peppa Pig which reached a new record level of sales in 2008 together with new ranges like Postman Pat, Hannah Montana and High School Musical, the future looks both bright and exciting.
In summary, whilst recognising that 2009 will provide many difficult challenges, the Board strongly believes that the Group has and will continue to:
BBC Worldwide Renew Character's Licence - 7th January 2009
BBC Worldwide Children's & Licensing have confirmed that Character Group plc has been awarded an extension of the Doctor Who master toy licence that the company has held since 2005.
Doctor Who will continue to be a licensing priority with BBC Worldwide developing brand new 'style elements' for licencees for Series 5 in 2010 featuring new 11th Doctor Matt Smith.
The licence renewal is vital for Character. The Doctor Who licence now generates a significant proportion of the group's revenues. Shares in Character Group rose strongly following the announcement.
Woolworths Collapses Owing Millions - 4th December 2008
Woolworths went into administration on Thursday 27th November with debts of £385 million sending shockwaves through the high street.
Now toy suppliers including the Character Group plc are set to lodge compensation claims with Woolworths' administrator, Deloitte. It is alleged that Woolworths owe Character around £1 million for stock, including Doctor Who toys, that has been delivered but not paid for.
It is not yet clear when or if the unsold toys or monies owed will be returned.
Preliminary Full Year Results - 2nd December 2008
"We have now entered the all important 2008 Christmas period at a time when consumer confidence is at its lowest level for years and when retailers are having difficulty making projected sales, other than at greatly reduced prices. Suppliers are encountering difficulties in making their sales, whilst enduring the results of severe cost inflation and adverse currency movements. In addition, it is proving more difficult to assess the financial condition of customers, as the events leading to the recent Woolworths plc administration have demonstrated. This is likely to have an impact on the ability for customers to meet the criteria of the trade indemnity insurers to facilitate debt insurance cover for suppliers such as Character Group in the coming year."
Character Group PLC - Trading Update 24th November 2008
The Board of The Character Group ('Character' or 'Group') announces that whilst the results for the financial year ended 31 August 2008 (scheduled to be announced on 2 December 2008) are likely to show a profit before tax of £5.0 million which is in-line with current market expectations, a review of current trading and future trading conditions indicates a more uncertain outcome for the financial year ending 31 August 2009.
The financial year ending 31 August 2009 commenced at the same time as world economies went into unprecedented freefall which has directly impacted negatively on an already difficult retail environment and consumer confidence. For the Group, this has in turn led to a period of substantially lower than expected sales, and margin erosion due to customer pressure, cost inflation and adverse foreign exchange movements.
At the current time, just ahead of the close of the 2008 Christmas trading period, and against severe and rapidly changing economic influences, it is too early to make meaningful forecasts for both the financial and calendar years 2009.
It is self evident however that, trading will be more difficult than previously anticipated and that current market expectations of Character's performance for these periods are too optimistic. In view of this, the Group has commenced a further review and where appropriate a realignment of its cost base to mitigate likely lower sales volumes.
Generally, commentary about the economic future has been predominantly negative across all sectors, and coupled with the comments above may not present a positive view of the Group's current and future trading performance. However, this being said, the Directors would like to highlight some positive aspects about the Group in these difficult times. Character:
The Board recognises that 2009 will provide many difficult challenges, but believes that the Group has continued the successful development of its own product line leaving it well positioned within the market-place to build on its market share and, that it has the financial strength and wherewithal to see the business through the current economic difficulties and be ready to take advantage of its market position as more normal times return.
Financial Press Reports on Character's Trading Update 24th November 2008
Character's Finance Director Kiran Shah told the Financial Times that sales were weak "across all ranges". FT report that Character expect a boost to sales in 2010 with the arrival of a new Doctor. Speaking to Bloombergs Mr Shah says the Group are "looking at cost reductions in product development and marketing". The Group has been hit by a rise in commodity prices, a fall in the value of sterling relative to the dollar, falling sales and pricing pressures reducing profit margins.
Military Action Figures 30th October 2008
Character have announced a major new line of military inspired boys action figures entitled HM Armed Forces.
To launch on May 8th 2009, VE Day, the range will feature 10 inch military action figures, playsets, vehicles and accessories.
The Character Group plc has an agreement with the Ministry of Defence which includes the Royal Navy, the Army and Air Force. The range of military toys and figures is set to be the company's biggest launch to date.
Shares in the Character Group which have seen a sharp decline in recent weeks ended the day up over 10%.
Trading Update 31 July 2008
As the Group moves into the final and most important month of its financial year, it has become clear to the Directors that slow trading conditions are being experienced by retailers generally, with toy stores being reported by the British Shops and Stores Association to be one of the hardest hit, with sector sales for the quarter to June 2008 estimated to be down by 7.5%.
Although the Directors continue to be pleased with the Group's offering for both this coming Christmas as well as for next year, it is likely that, as a consequence, there will be a slower intake by the Group's customers than originally anticipated, which may have a significant impact on August 2008 sales as well as during the run up to Christmas.
Character has a management team experienced in operating in such adverse trading conditions and the Directors are confident that the Group will be able to deal with the effects of this downturn, not least by ensuring that inventory exposure is reduced in line with more conservative expectations for the lead up to Christmas. Whilst this may limit opportunities if the economic conditions improve over the next six months, it is believed that preserving positive cash-flow and a strong balance sheet are prudent policies for the Group to follow at this time.
The Group continues to be cash generative and has cash at bank and substantial un-drawn banking and invoice discounting facilities available to it.
The Directors will continue to keep shareholders updated as appropriate.
Interim Results 29 April 2008
Shares in The Character Group plc took a tumble this morning following the release of their Six Month Interim Results.
Introduction "The Group has produced a creditable performance for the half-year, achieving pre tax profits of £3.25 million against £7.03 million for the same period for the previous year, on turnover of £48.6 million (2007: £56.2 million)"
Review "As a major UK supplier, we continue to capitalise on our market position, whilst at the same time seek to develop further our international markets. we entered the 2008 financial year with confidence that we had developed a strong, innovative and exciting product portfolio, which meets both the demands of the customers and the consumer. We continue to maintain that confidence."
Financials "Stocks have increased to £9.1 million from £5.4 million as a result of slower sales over Christmas."
Outlook "Trading is expected to remain tough and challenging throughout the year."
5" Figures Series 1 Series 2 Series 3 Series 4 Classics Figure Sets 12 Inch
5" List News Shop Contact
Content is copyright © doctorwhotoys.net