Paul Wright confident of improvement


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<img src="/images/PW.jpg" border="0" alt="Paul Wright" title="Paul Wright" hspace="4" vspace="3" align="right" />Paul Wright, Non-executive chairman of Ideal Shopping Direct PLC, has commented on the companies Preliminary Results released today.<br /><br />"Against a backdrop of difficult trading conditions and poor decisions by the previous management, I am deeply disappointed to report that the financial results for 2008 show a record loss of £13.2 million and a sales decline of 2.0%. As previously anticipated in the 23 March trading update, excluding exceptional charges of £9.2 million the trading loss was £4.0 million. The exceptional costs include many non-cash provisions that write down<br />the value of our balance sheet, together with a number of restructuring costs. These charges have been incurred to put us in a clearer position from which to return the Company to profitability.<br /><br />Given these results, the Board is not in a position to recommend payment of a final dividend.<br /><br />On 3 February 2009, the Board was restructured and I returned to the Company as Non-executive Chairman. Valerie Kaye also joined the Board as a Non-executive Director at this time. Together we have considerable experience and a deep knowledge and understanding of the business and the opportunities for future profitable growth. We are excited at the prospect of working with Mike Hancox, our new Chief Executive who joined the Board on 3 November 2008, Ian Jebson, who joined the Board as Finance Director on 1March 2009, and the rest of the management team in restoring the business to growth and profitability. David Williams, Terry Donovan and Susan Ellis all stepped down from the Board on 3 February 2009. Pam Aujla stepped down from the Board on 23 March 2009.<br /><br />On behalf of the new Board and shareholders, I would like to thank colleagues for their hard work during 2008. The financial performance of the Company does not reflect the effort and commitment that many people have put into the business and if we can remain focused on the strategy of the new management team, I am confident of an improvement in performance.<br /><br />To grow the business profitably, we will refocus on the business fundamentals that made it successful. The Board is focused on increasing customer loyalty, improving customer service, extending the diversity of product whilst avoiding stock risk, and demonstrating these products across a range of price points within a convenient and entertaining shopping environment. Controls are being significantly improved with a focus on cash management. We will be driving our existing TV shopping audience towards multi-channel retailing using our websites and other established marketing tools including e-commerce, whilst at the same time reinforcing our brand values of family, friendship and fun.<br /><br />In a very tough retail environment, 2009 has begun with sales slightly ahead of our expectations. Importantly, we continue to acquire a substantial number of new customers and we are introducing new commercial and best practice home shopping initiatives during the first half of 2009, which will have a significant and I believe positive impact on the business. The new management has hit the ground running and is already making a strong contribution to trading performance. With this in mind, I am cautiously optimistic that we can return the business to profitability."<br />

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