Park Group, the financial products to Christmas hampers business, is holding its annual meeting and Chairman Peter Johnson will tell shareholders it continues to make good progress.
The meeting at Mr Johnson’s Tranmere Rovers ground in Prenton, will hear the Park Group founder say: “In my statement of June 11, I commented on the positive progress Park had made during the year to March 31, 2013. I am pleased to report that this has continued into the current financial year, although I reiterate my observations regarding lower levels of consumer confidence.”
He will say although consumer sentiment has improved, the positive impact is yet to be detected by Park: “Orders in our Christmas Savings business are slightly below the level at the same time last year, with UK orders for Christmas 2013 currently some 2% lower. Pleasingly, our fledgling Irish operation is growing and orders are 15% ahead of the same time last year.”
Mr Johnson will reveal that Park’s corporate business, with its broad range of innovative, bespoke products serving more than 6,000 customers, continues to expand.“We are working with existing and new retail partners to enhance our propositions to meet customer requirements and 13 new retail brands have already joined the Love2shop vouchers and cards during 2013. Park’s e-commerce trading continues to grow as our own and our customers’ use of the internet increases. We are now able to offer our customers greater flexibility and choice; sales through our highstreetvoucher.com web site are currently 28% above last year.”
Park’s cash balances, including monies held in trust, are ahead of last year, although interest rates available in the money market continue to decline and are lower than last year.
In June the business raised £4.2m through a share placing with institutional investors to fund further growth and Mr Johnson will say: “These funds will be applied progressively to finance the future development of our flexecash system and to enhance the web sites that support our sales activity in the UK and Europe.”
He will add: “Ireland has provided our first business opportunity outside the UK and we are now beginning to expand into new markets in a controlled way, building on our strengths, product portfolio, retail relationships and corporate customer base.”
And, ahead of the busy Christmas period, Mr Johnson will conclude: “The next three months, as always, are critical for Park, with cash balances above last year and growth in online and corporate markets, we look forward with confidence.”
Christopher Baker and George Marcall, Park’s two longest serving independent non-executive directors, will step down today after 12 years in office to be replaced by Laura Carstensen and Michael de Kare-Silver. John Dembitz, who was appointed as a non-executive director in 2008, will become senior independent director, taking over from Christopher Baker