William Sinclair says sales to retail and professional customers have failed to match expectations

William Sinclair says sales have not met expectations in its latest trading update, following encouraging order intake and sales early in the season.

The growing media company said the extent of the growth in revenues compared to the prior year that had been anticipated to result from a return of more normal weather patterns, did not fully meet expectations.

In a statement the company said: "Sales to both retail and professional customers have disappointed, as have to a lesser degree margins.  As a result, whilst it expects broadly to break-even at the underlying EBITDA level, the group will report a significant underlying net loss for the year.

"As a consequence of this trading performance, group net debt at the interim period end and subsequently is greater than expected, and the Group does not therefore intend to pay an interim dividend.

"Whilst large cash inflows are awaited in respect of the claim against Natural England, no settlement of this claim is expected before a court decision later this autumn, with any award not likely to be paid before the end of the calendar year. The group continues to enjoy the support of its lenders.

"The group had already recognised the need to refresh its brands and sales organisation, and has taken steps to address these issues.

"As recently announced, the Horticulture department will soon be led by a new commercial director (Richard Carr) and his input, taken together with the recently completed re-branding exercise (by Simon McArdle), is expected to result in increased customer demand for next season.

"The development of Ellesmere Port continues on budget with production on the new equipment due to commence within 12 weeks."

Meanwhile, former Sinclair retail MD Danny Adamson has joined Karcher.


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