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Homestyle Group PLC (HME)

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Friday 21 October, 2005

Homestyle Group PLC

AGM Statement

Homestyle Group PLC
21 October 2005

                                                               21st October 2005

                             HOMESTYLE GROUP PLC
                                AGM STATEMENT

At today's Annual General Meeting, Donald Macpherson, Chairman, will make the
following statement to shareholders prior to the Company entering its close
period following the end of the first half of the financial year on 29th October


'As a result of the re-financing of the business completed on 17th June,
Homestyle now has a strong balance sheet enabling renewed focus on the
development of our retail operations.  Moreover, our strategic partnership with
Steinhoff International Holdings, one of the world's leading furniture and
household goods groups, is starting to yield a number of important commercial
benefits.  Ian Topping was appointed Chief Executive on 28th July and is now
leading the strategy to deliver long term recovery at our Furniture Division and
build on the leading position of our Bed's Division.


As has been widely publicised, trading in our home related markets has been
highly competitive and consumer confidence weak.  We reported with our
Preliminary Results announcement on 28th July 2005 that orders for the 12 weeks
to 23rd July were down 13% due in part to the weak financial position of the
Company prior to the re-financing.  This poor trading in the early part of the
financial year will result in a similar percentage shortfall in delivered
turnover for the first half year which in turn will lead to a substantial
operating loss.  The figures for the first half will be released in January 2006
after the key post Christmas trading period.

However, since the end of July there has been a considerable improvement in our
trading.  In the 12 weeks to 15th October orders were up 12% on the same period
last year, giving a cumulative position in the 24 weeks slightly up on the prior
year.  This reflects the renewed confidence in our businesses following the
re-financing and a return to actively promoting our customer offering.  Gross
margins are broadly in line with last year although certain fixed costs are
higher than originally planned for the level of turnover being achieved and are
being addressed.

I am also pleased to announce that Bill Carrahar has been appointed Managing
Director of the Beds Divisions from December 2005. He has extensive experience
of the furniture industry, most recently as Managing Director of Buoyant
Upholstery, a business that has enjoyed significant growth over the last few


Following on from the re-financing, the Homestyle Board have decided that it
will be more efficient for the business to align its year-end with that of
Steinhoff International Holdings.  This will mean that the current year-end
moves from April 2006 to June 2006 and that we will have a second half of 8


Trading conditions remain very challenging but our businesses are well
positioned to capitalise on the opportunities for growth that have been created
by the well publicised problems in the UK furniture sector.  We have the
resources and strategic partnership in place to support our management teams to
implement our plans to return the Company to acceptable levels of 


  Homestyle Group PLC                                 Hudson Sandler
  Ian Topping, Chief Executive                        Andrew Hayes
  Tim Kowalski, Finance Director                      James Hill
  Tel:  +44 (0) 845 600 3500                          Tel:  +44 (0) 20 7796 4133

                      This information is provided by RNS
            The company news service from the London Stock Exchange                                                                  

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