Toy group confident, despite falls in sales and profits

Character Group

Oldham toys specialist, The Character Group, has seen revenues and profits for the year tumble.

Sales in the year to August 31, fell from £115.3m in 2017, to £106.2m, while pre-tax profits of £11.6m were down from last year’s figure of £13.4m.

However, net cash for the year improved from £11.5m to £15.6m, while net assets of £31.8m compared with £26.8m a year ago.

The annual dividend has been increased from 19p to 23p per share.

Among the highlights for the firm were that key product ranges, such as Peppa Pig, Little Live Pets, Teletubbies and Stretch, remained in demand, and it said the group will be introducing new products and range extensions to its portfolio in the coming
months, which will further strengthen its offering for the year ahead.

The Character Group is involved in the design, development and international distribution of toys, games and giftware.

Character’s established leading brands, developed in-house include Peppa Pig, Stretch and Teletubbies, as well as exclusive, distributed lines, including Little Live Pets and Mashems, together with new ranges such as Pokémon, Treasure X and Doorables Disney Collection.

Its results announcement said today: “The board is delighted to report that the group finished the financial year in a strong position, comfortably achieving market expectations.

“This is a particularly pleasing outcome as it endorses the optimism that we expressed at the time of the HY1 results
announcement in April, when we projected that we would see a return to profitable growth progression during the second half of the year.”

It added: “The new financial year has started well and in line with management expectations – we are confident in the prospects for the current Autumn/Winter trading period, which includes the all-important Christmas season.”

At the year end the Group employed a total of 186 people across its locations in the UK and Asia.

The board said it looks forward to further updating shareholders on the 2018 Christmas trading period and prospects at the time of the company’s forthcoming annual general meeting on January 18, 2019.