Park Group plc
("Park" or "the Company")
At the Company's Annual General Meeting to be held today at 12 noon, at The Vice Presidents Room, Tranmere Rovers Football Club Limited, Birkenhead CH42 9PN, Peter Johnson, Chairman of Park Group plc, will make the following statement:
"In my statement of 11 June, I commented on the positive progress Park had made during the year to 31 March 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.
The difficulties experienced within the UK economy over recent years have been well documented and whilst the recent reported improvements are welcomed, 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 per cent lower. Pleasingly, our fledgling Irish operation is growing and orders are 15 per cent ahead of the same time last year.
The Corporate business, with its broad range of innovative, bespoke products serving over 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 per cent above last year.
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.
Investment is a key factor which will underpin our growth and enable Park to expand the products and services we offer. To facilitate this growth the Company raised £4.2 million, after expenses through a share placing with institutional investors in June 2013. 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.
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.
In June we announced that Christopher Baker and George Marcall, our two longest serving independent non-executive directors, would step down today after 12 years in office. Christopher and George have both made a valuable contribution to the development of the business for which I would like to thank them and we wish them well. I am delighted to welcome Laura Carstensen and Michael de Kare-Silver who join the board today as independent Non-Executive Directors. Each has considerable experience in the corporate world and I am confident they will make an important contribution as we continue to develop the Group. A separate announcement has been made disclosing the information about both directors required under AIM rule 17.
John Dembitz, who was appointed as a Non-Executive Director in 2008, will become Senior Independent Director, taking over from Christopher Baker.
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".
For further information please contact:
Park Group plc
Arden Partners plc
Tel: 0151 653 1700
Tel: 020 7614 5920
Tel: 020 7920 3150