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Brown (N.) Group PLC (BWNG)

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Tuesday 10 May, 2005

Brown (N.) Group PLC

Final Results

Brown (N.) Group PLC
10 May 2005



10 May 2005
                               N Brown Group plc

                        PRELIMINARY RESULTS ANNOUNCEMENT
                          YEAR ENDED 26 FEBRUARY 2005   

N Brown Group plc, the Manchester based direct home shopping company, today
announces its preliminary results for the 52 weeks to 26 February 2005.

Highlights: 

   •Significant improvement in performance of the core Home Shopping business
    with operating profit up 13.6% to £59.2m
   •Group turnover £460.3m (2004: £470.5m)
   •Group profit before tax and exceptionals £44.1m (2004: £49.1m)
   •Exceptional provisions of £25.5m in respect of restructuring of House of
    Stirling and Financial Services businesses
   •Net cash inflow before financing of £19.3m and reduced gearing of 52%
    (2004: 60%)
   •Total dividend per share for the year maintained at 5.84p
   •Group current trading shows underlying sales growth of 2%

Alan White, Chief Executive, said:

'We are pleased with the successful home shopping performance this year. N Brown
is working to build on this positive performance and also deliver a program of
significant change to restructure and re-focus our business model. We are
concentrating on the areas where we see the strongest future growth
opportunities, from our more profitable home shopping brands and channels to
market.

'Over the course of this year, we have put in place many profit improvement
initiatives across the Group, and we are delighted to see early signs of the
benefit of these programmes.'

Lord Alliance CBE, Chairman, added:

'The Group has made significant progress in the profit recovery of the core home
shopping business during a year in which the management team has worked hard to
exploit additional channels to market for our specialist larger size product
ranges.

'Our performance in the new financial year has started positively as customers
are reacting well to improvements in product ranges and new catalogue
offerings.'

                                     -Ends-


For further information please contact:

N Brown Group plc
                                            On the day: 0207 554 1400
Alan White, Chief Executive                 Thereafter: 0161 236 2000
Dean Moore, Finance Director

Website : www.nbrown.co.uk

Gavin Anderson & Company
Charlotte Stone / Fergus Wylie              Tel: 020 7554 1400



CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT


Group

The Group results for the year ended 26th February 2005 show significant
progress has been made in the profit recovery of the core home shopping
business, reflecting the major focus on margins and new growth areas over the
past two years. In the continuing tough trading conditions, which have affected
the whole retailing industry, this division, which accounts for over 90% of
total revenues, increased operating profits by 13.6% on turnover up 0.9%.

A program to rationalise and restructure our other businesses will be completed
by the autumn. Impairment costs of £25.5m have been provided to effect these
changes with positive benefits for group profitability going forward.

Overall group turnover is down by 2.2% at £460.3m but operating profit before
operating exceptional items is up from £54.2m to £54.4m. Pre-tax profit is
£18.6m (2004, £31.0m) after accounting for higher interest charges, joint
venture losses and impairment provisions.

The borrowings have reduced to £126.2m during the year with a net cash inflow
before financing of £19.3m generated by a significant reduction in both the
working capital and capital expenditure requirements.

This results in gearing of 52% (2004, 60%) on net assets of £243.3m and interest
cover before operating exceptional items of 6.5 times. The Board is recommending
maintaining the dividend at 5.84p, covered 1.9 times before operating
exceptional items.

Home Shopping

Core home shopping results, excluding House of Stirling and Teleview which are
covered separately below, show a significant operating profit improvement, up
13.6% at £59.2m (2004 £52.2m) on turnover up 0.9% to £416.5m. This reflects the
concerted management action which has resulted in a 1.3% gross margin rate
improvement and a cost reduction programme which has reduced selling and
administration costs by over £4m.

Our home shopping strategy is to focus on specific customer and product niches,
with particular specialism in larger sizes and/or the over forty-five customer.
Whilst turnover growth has been modest we have shown considerable success in
certain key product categories. Overall sales of ladieswear were level with last
year despite strong deflation in the market place, and within this sales of
corsetry and lingerie were up by 9%. Footwear was our strongest performing range
with sales up 13%.

The total turnover for home and leisure products was, as expected, slightly down
at £116m. The tighter credit controls, introduced to improve profitability, had
the predicted impact on slowing sales of the higher value furniture and
electrical lines. This was offset by the launch of a new Christmas Gifts
catalogue which resulted in a greater contribution from toys, gifts and
decorations.

Sales grew in all three of our customer age groups. Within the younger titles
(30-45 age group) Fashion World remains the dominant catalogue but the fastest
growing brand is still Simply Be, where sales grew by 18%.

The main mid-life group of catalogues targeted at the 45-65 age group rose by 1%
to £293m including sales from the House of Bath database we acquired in November
2004. Once this business is fully integrated we will use it as a platform to
increase sales from the ABC1 socio-demographic groups, where the market is
growing strongly.

Sales to the older customers (65 plus) rose by 2% to £22m with good performances
from Heather Valley and Special Collection.

Our emphasis on customer recruitment has been to improve the quality rather than
the quantity of our database. We discontinued the Value Catalogue and Home
Essentials on grounds of low profitability, which contributed to a 3% decline in
customer numbers. The higher quality customer base, together with improved
targeting and catalogue content, resulted in the average sales per customer
rising by 4%.

Our channels to market continue to evolve. Internet penetration has increased to
11% of total sales, reflecting growth of over 60% to £44m. We plan to increase
this further by both promoting this channel to our existing customers and
building new on-line brands. For example, Viva La Diva.com has been launched and
is aimed at a new audience, offering a range of high street and designer
footwear brands in addition to our own range of wide fitting footwear.

In late autumn we launched the Express Shopping Channel on the main digital
television channels in partnership with Northern and Shell. Our share of losses
was £1.9m as planned, including set up costs.

The gross margin has improved by 1.3% to 56.6% through a combination of reduced
bad debts, following the tightening of credit limits, and a deliberate move to
reduce the level of discounting.

As we outlined at the interim results, we have embarked on a focussed cost
reduction campaign, including using on-line auction techniques to improve
purchase prices and, where necessary, restructuring business processes. This has
yielded savings of £4m in the current year.

House of Stirling

The recovery plan implemented for House of Stirling, our door-to-door selling
operation, has delivered the expected reduction in losses in the second half.
The underlying results for the year show sales of £24m, down 27.5%, and
pre-exceptional operating losses of £6.3m (2004, £2.0m).

We have undertaken a fundamental review of the business and are taking radical
action to stem the losses, resulting in an impairment charge of £22.5m. This is
shown separately as an operational exceptional item. 

Teleview

The disposal process for our television rental operation has been protracted. We
are in negotiations with interested parties and hope to conclude a deal shortly.
The operating result was break-even compared with a £1.2m pre-exceptional
operating profit last year.

Financial Services

We have been making personal loans to our customers since 2001. After a thorough
review of the prospects for this business we have decided to offer these
products only as an intermediary, for which we receive guaranteed commission.

The existing loan portfolio of £19m will be collected out by our own debt
collection team but we anticipate a shortfall of £3m, including costs, which has
been taken as an operating exceptional item. The pre-exceptional operating
profit in the division was £1.2m (2004, £2.4m).

Fulfilment Services

An operating profit before operating exceptional items of £0.3m has been
achieved against £0.8m last year. The interactive services activity was closed
down in July 2004 and the focus is now clearly on more profitable fulfilment
contracts, helping retailers to establish their on-line and catalogue channels.

We are working on a solid pipeline of opportunities, and fulfilment contracts
have now been signed with Woolworths and more recently JJB Sports. The rapid
growth of multi-channel retailing continues to provide exciting opportunities
for Zendor.

Board

Jim Martin, currently non-executive Deputy Chairman and distinguished former
Chief Executive, has indicated his intention to retire from the board at our
Annual General Meeting in July. Jim has served 31 years with the company, during
which it has grown from a market capitalisation of only £4m, much of it due to
his outstanding retailing skills, as well as sheer hard work. We thank Jim for
his enormous contribution to the company over many years and wish him well.

Prospects & Outlook

Despite the reported weakening of general customer demand in recent months, we
have seen some encouraging signs in current trading. Sales in our core home
shopping business for the 10 weeks since the year end are running 5% ahead of
last year, 3% of which is contributed by House of Bath customers. However in the
light of recent announcements in the sector we remain cautious in our outlook
for both sales and gross margin.

The restructuring program for our non-core activities will be completed by the
autumn, resulting in a significant improvement in the rate of return on capital
employed.

Overall we are delighted that the many profit improvement initiatives we have
put in place in the core business are starting to deliver positive results.
Sales in many of our key product categories are advancing and we have improved
both the gross margin and the cost base, with a further limited net benefit to
come in the current year.

The fact that this has been achieved in a very competitive retail market,
confirms our confidence in the program we are now pursuing. Whilst there is more
progress to be made, the hard work of management and staff is starting to be
rewarded.

Lord David Alliance, CBE
10 May 2005





CHIEF EXECUTIVE'S REVIEW

Introduction

We are pleased to report that in the year ended 26th February 2005 we have made
good progress in implementing our specialist multi-channel home shopping
strategy, whilst at the same time rationalising our other activities. We will
continue to pursue these two routes which we believe will enable us to succeed
in a highly competitive and deflationary retail environment.

Home Shopping

Turnover from our core home shopping activities was up by 0.9% at £416.5m.
Operating profit increased by 13.6% to £59.2m, giving an operating margin of
14.2%.

The key reasons for the improvement in operating profits are a reduction in bad
debts, a direct result of the introduction of a more tightly controlled credit
policy since 2003, and also reduced selling and administration costs resulting
from a group-wide campaign to improve business processes and reduce costs.

Channels to Market

Customers have never had so many ways to spend their money. We have responded to
this competitive environment by expanding our channels to market and by targeted
promotional activity.

The core route to our customer remains the mailing of catalogues. The frequency
of mailings has been increasing, with our best customers receiving a major
catalogue or brochure almost every month. This frequent contact helps to keep
the offer fresh, the customers loyal and increases our share of their overall
spending. These additional mailings also allow the introduction of new, and
seasonal products, and we can offer selective price reductions and promotional
offers to stimulate demand.

Varying catalogue formats has proved successful in achieving enhanced response
rates. The sales from leaflets accompanying customers' statements have been
declining and we have been deliberately switching our marketing investment into
the direct mailing of mid-season catalogues (such as New Now, Summer Value and
Classic Detail), where the sales rose by 5% to £91m.

In addition to direct mail we continue to expand telemarketing activity at our
call centres. In the last year £37m of revenue (up 3%) was generated through up
selling techniques used on inbound orders and from outbound calls to selected
customers promoting our special offers.

Our on-line activity continues to grow rapidly. Initially the internet was
merely an alternative ordering mechanism to the telephone and post. This is no
longer the case. We are now well into the development phase where our websites
carry a much wider range of offers and products than any of our catalogues.
These offers may be targeted at specific events, such as Mothers Day, or include
additional products, such as flowers and vitamins. This channel to market
therefore remains a key area for future development and growth.

The major internet launch last year was Viva La Diva.com which is targeted at
women who love shoes. In addition to our own range of wide fitting footwear a
number of high street brands (such as Schuh, Carvela and Hobbs) and fashion shoe
designers (including Emma Hope and Lulu Guinness) are helping us to provide the
most comprehensive on-line footwear selection in the UK.

The availability of delivery to customers direct from the supplier is vital to
these on-line ventures if they are to deliver an acceptable return. The ability
to launch new concepts for a low level of investment, and the reduced cost of
communication with customers, makes the internet an increasing focus of our
development activities.

Retail shops are a small part of our multi-channel mix at present. We have had
for some time a chain of nineteen stores in the North East of England to sell
off end of range stock. House of Bath has a shop at its headquarters in Bath
which attracts customers who want to buy the goods on sale in the catalogues in
person rather than by home delivery. We are testing this concept further with a
trial store in Harrogate for our Shoe Tailor brand, offering a selection from
our footwear range and a personalised measuring service, augmented with a much
wider range available for home delivery.

Customer Groups

We operate a portfolio of catalogues targeted at defined customer groups. The
common link is the product range which is targeted at either the larger customer
and/or those aged over forty-five. The customers are classified into three age
groups. The younger customers aged 30-45 are predominantly serviced by the
Fashion World and Simply Be catalogues. Total sales were £102m, up 1% on last
year.

The midlife customer group, incorporating principally the J D Williams, Ambrose
Wilson, Oxendales, Premier Man and Fifty Plus brands, increased sales by 1% to
£293m, accounting for 70% of the home shopping total.

The new addition to this group was House of Bath, a business we acquired out of
administration in November 2004 for a total cost of £1.5m. This acquisition has
given us access to a database of over one million customers in the more affluent
ABC1 socio-demographic groups, currently the fastest growing sector of the home
shopping market. The key task is to integrate House of Bath's operations into N
Brown's facilities, which will be completed later this summer. This will
facilitate mailings to and from other parts of the customer database, allow
parcels to be distributed through our courier network and enable the provision
of a suitable credit offer.

The launch in January 2005 of a 200 page catalogue to our best performing
customers in our 65+ aged group has helped to reverse the recent downward trend
in sales from this customer group. There were good performances from both
Heather Valley and Special Collection in particular. Sales in total rose by 2%
to £22m.

Product Ranges

Our product ranges are tailored to the needs of our chosen groups. In order to
deliver authority in our larger sizes and fittings proposition we have over
50,000 different product options each season. The best performances have come
from our most specialist product areas.

Ladieswear sales of £224m represents 54% of our total sales, the same as the
previous year. Basic casual clothing was impacted by deflation in prices, driven
by the discount sector, but we saw strong demand for occasionwear, outerwear and
styles for the more mature lady. Corsetry and lingerie, where we offer a
comprehensive range of fittings and styles, saw a 9% sales increase. Menswear
sales of £31m were level with the previous year with the sales concentrated at
the lower price points. This pattern has been reflected in our 2005 menswear
ranges where we have a higher proportion of value for money lines.

Footwear is a core range where we sell in excess of one million pairs of
wide-fitting shoes each year. Additional sales from a range of footwear in
younger styles for the Fashion World and Simply Be customers, together with an
expanded range for the midlife customer, helped aggregate footwear sales to rise
by 13% to £46m.

Home and leisure sales were 1% lower at £116m. However the launch of the new
Christmas Gifts catalogues in the autumn gave new impetus to sales of toys,
gifts and decorations. Similarly, the bulk of sales from the House of Bath
catalogues are largely for home and leisure lines, generally in the 'hard to
find' category.

The plan for our product ranges in the 2005 catalogues is to increase further
our market share in our core product areas. We will be reducing the number of
stock lines but the product options will increase as we selectively introduce
more smaller sizes and variable garment lengths.

Other Activities

House of Stirling, our weekly collected credit operation incurred losses of
£4.2m in the first half, and we instigated a recovery plan which has been
implemented throughout the second half. This has resulted in a significant
improvement in the rate of cash collection, although sales have remained subdued
due to the more conservative underwriting criteria. The results for the year
show turnover of £24.0m, down 27.5%, and pre-exceptional operating losses of
£6.3m against £2.0m last year. A fundamental review of the business has
concluded that we need to rationalise the business, which is unique in being
product-based rather than loan-based, if we are to eliminate losses in the
future. We have taken an impairment charge of £22.5m to facilitate this
restructuring.

Zendor, which provides home shopping solutions for multi-channel retailers, has
seen a number of changes during the year. Eunite, the interactive services
division, was closed as planned in July 2004 and the focus concentrated on
securing fulfilment contracts from the top 200 UK retailers, many of whom are
planning to expand their catalogue and on-line activities. Zendor was successful
last year in winning contracts with Daisy and Tom, Woolworths and, most
recently, JJB Sports and there is a good pipeline of prospects. Sales were
£7.4m, down 16.9% with a pre-exceptional operating profit of £0.3m (2004,
£0.8m).

Financial income is a core part of N Brown's activities. The major activity is
the provision of flexible credit accounts for our home shopping customers, and
this has continued successfully throughout the period. In addition we offer
warranty and insurance products and personal loans to our customers. Turnover
for the year from these activities was down 22.9% at £6.7m, as we tightened the
underwriting criteria, producing an operating profit of £1.2m (2004, £2.4m).

The insurance products are provided by financial services companies with N Brown
Group acting as a broker, but the personal loans have been transacted as a
principal. These loans have not delivered an acceptable return on capital
employed and we have decided to collect out the existing portfolio. We have
recognised a £3m impairment on the £19m loan portfolio as a consequence of this
exit. Going forward we will instead offer personal loans to our customers from
third party providers for which we will receive a guaranteed commission.

Balance Sheet and Cashflow

The group's borrowings have been reduced to £126.2m as a result of a net cash
inflow before financing of £19.3m against an outflow of £30.5m last year. The
main changes relate to a lower level of working capital requirements and capital
expenditure of only £9.4m. Net assets at the year-end are £243.3m (2004,
£244.3m) with gearing reduced to 52%. The underlying financial strength of the
business has significantly improved during the last year.

Outlook

Future growth for the business will come from expanding our customer base,
developing the channels to our customers and refining the product range.

Once we have integrated House of Bath onto our logistics platform we see
opportunities for expanding sales to the more affluent customer. We will also be
concentrating on reactivating lapsed customers and on-line search engines will
be an increasing source of new customer recruitment.

Our internet websites will be further developed. Vivaladiva.com will be
supported with a public relations campaign and Petfoodnstuff.com has recently
been launched to satisfy the millions of pet-loving consumers. We see further
opportunities for specialist websites.

There is additional scope to improve the efficiency of the business and we
intend to build on the great response we had from the whole management team last
year in rising to the challenge to reduce costs and change our business
processes.

Summary

The clear focus on niche customers and products is starting to produce positive
results, and is helping us to succeed in a highly competitive and deflationary
retail environment. The business is developing a number of marketing channels to
customers and improving the targeting of products and catalogues to customers.
Current trading is 5% up on last year in the core home shopping business, and 2%
up on a like-for-like basis excluding House of Bath for the 10 weeks since the
year end.

We are pleased with the progress we have made in the last year and remain
confident that our strategy will provide a solid platform for the future.



Alan White
10 May 2005






GROUP PROFIT AND LOSS
ACCOUNT

for the 52 weeks ended
26 February 2005
                                                                              Continuing
                              Continuing                                      activities         Goodwill
                               activities                                before goodwill     Amortisation

                                   before     Operating     Unaudited       amortisation      & operating       Audited
                                operating   exceptional         Total        & operating      exceptional         Total
                              exceptional         items   52 weeks to        exceptional            items   52 weeks to
                                    items      (note 4)     26-Feb-05              items          (note 4)    28-Feb-04
                       Note            £m           £m             £m                 £m               £m            £m
                            --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Turnover                  1         460.3            -          460.3              470.5                -         470.5
                            ============================================================================================
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Operating profit before 
goodwill amortisation     2          54.4         (25.5)         28.9               54.2             (7.8)         46.4
                         
Goodwill amortisation                   -             -             -                  -            (10.3)        (10.3)
                           
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Operating profit          3          54.4         (25.5)         28.9               54.2            (18.1)         36.1

Share of joint venture               (1.9)            -          (1.9)                 -                -             -
operating loss 
                      
Profit/(loss) on sale of             (0.3)            -          (0.3)               1.0                -           1.0
tangible fixed assets  
                            --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             
Profit on ordinary                   52.2         (25.5)         26.7               55.2            (18.1)         37.1
activities before 
finance charges                         

Net interest payable                 (8.1)            -          (8.1)              (6.1)               -          (6.1)
and similar charges 
                            --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Profit on ordinary                    44.1         (25.5)         18.6              49.1            (18.1)         31.0
activities before
taxation 
                            
Taxation on profit on                (11.0)          7.7          (3.3)            (13.8)             1.2         (12.6)
ordinary activities
                            --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Profit on ordinary                    33.1         (17.8)         15.3              35.3            (16.9)         18.4
activities after 
taxation                      

Equity minority                          -             -             -                 -             (0.5)         (0.5)
interests 
                             -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Profit for the financial              33.1         (17.8)         15.3              35.3            (17.4)         17.9
year                       

Dividends                 6          (17.2)            -         (17.2)            (17.1)               -         (17.1)
                             -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Retained profit/(loss)                15.9         (17.8)         (1.9)             18.2            (17.4)          0.8
for the year                       
                             ===========================================================================================

Underlying earnings       7                                      11.25p                                           12.02p
per share
                  
Goodwill amortisation                                           (6.07)p                                          (5.91)p
& operating exceptional                                         --------                                        --------
items 

Basic earnings per                                                5.18p                                            6.11p
share                                                           --------                                        --------

Diluted earnings          7                                       5.17p                                            6.08p
per share                                                       --------                                        --------

Dividends per
share                     6                                       5.84p                                            5.84p
                                                                --------                                        --------






GROUP BALANCE SHEET
as at 26 February 2005

                                                   Unaudited           Audited
                                                        2005              2004
                                                          £m                £m
                                                                  (restated note 8)
                                                    -------------------------------
Fixed assets
Intangible assets                                        1.5                 -
Tangible assets                                         78.8              83.0
Investments                                              0.1                 -
                                                    -------------------------------  

                                                        80.4              83.0
                                                    ===============================

Current assets
Stocks                                                  44.8              46.4
Debtors                                                332.6             354.1
Cash at bank and in hand                                44.5              26.8
                                                    
                                                       421.9             427.3
                                                    ===============================
Creditors
Amounts falling due within one year                    (84.2)            (90.4)
                                                    -------------------------------

Net current assets                                     337.7             336.9
                                                    -------------------------------
Total assets less current liabilities                  418.1             419.9

Creditors
Amounts falling due after more than one year          (170.0)           (170.6)

Provisions for liabilities and charges                  (4.8)             (5.0)
                                                    -------------------------------
Net assets                                             243.3             244.3
                                                    ===============================

Capital and reserves
Called-up share capital                                 29.5              29.5
Share premium account                                    9.2               9.1
Own shares                                              (1.5)             (2.3)
Profit and loss account                                206.1             208.0
                                                    -------------------------------

Equity shareholders' funds                             243.3             244.3

Equity minority interests                                  -                 -
                                                    -------------------------------

Capital employed                                       243.3             244.3
                                                    ===============================

Gearing                                                  52%               60%


GROUP CASH FLOW STATEMENT
for the 52 weeks ended 26 February 2005
                                                          Unaudited           Audited
                                                   2005        2005    2004      2004
                                           Note      £m          £m      £m        £m
                                         ---------------------------------------------

Net cash inflow from operating activities     5                66.5              29.4

Returns on investments and servicing of
finance
Interest paid                                      (8.3)               (6.3)
Interest element of finance lease payments         (0.1)               (0.1)
                                                 -------             -------

Net cash outflow from returns on
investments
and servicing of finance                                       (8.4)             (6.4)

Taxation
Corporation tax paid                                          (14.5)            (12.8)

Capital expenditure and financial investment
Purchase of tangible fixed assets                  (9.4)              (25.4)
Loans advanced to Joint Venture                    (2.0)                  -
Sale of fixed asset investment                        -                 0.8
Sale of tangible fixed assets                       4.9                 0.6
Decrease in own shares held in trust                0.8                 0.7
                                                 -------             -------

Net cash outflow from capital expenditure
and financial investment                                       (5.7)            (23.3)

Acquisitions and disposals
Purchase of subsidiary undertakings                   -                (0.3)
Purchase of trade and assets                       (1.5)                  -
                                                 -------             -------
Net cash outflow from acquisitions and
disposals                                                      (1.5)             (0.3)

Equity dividends paid                                         (17.1)            (17.1)
                                                             --------           -------

Cash inflow/(outflow) before financing                         19.3             (30.5)

Financing
Issue of ordinary share capital                     0.1                 0.4
New loans                                             -                34.0
Loan repayments                                       -                (0.5)
Capital element of finance leases                  (0.6)               (0.5)
                                                  -------             -------

Net cash (outflow)/inflow from financing                       (0.5)             33.4
                                                            --------           -------
Increase in cash in the year                                   18.8               2.9
                                                            --------           -------


GROUP CASH FLOW STATEMENT, contd.
for the 52 weeks ended 26 February 2005

                                                           Unaudited       Audited
                                                                2005          2004
                                                                  £m            £m
                                                              --------       -------
Reconciliation of net cash flow to movement in net debt
Increase in cash in the year                                    18.8           2.9
Cash inflow from increase in loans                                 -         (34.0)
Repayment of loans                                                 -           0.5
Repayment of capital element of finance leases                   0.6           0.5
                                                              --------       -------

Movement in net debt in the year                                19.4         (30.1)

Net debt at 28 February 2004                                  (145.6)       (115.5)
                                                              --------      --------

Net debt at 26 February 2005                                  (126.2)       (145.6)
                                                              ========      =======


STATEMENT OF TOTAL RECOGNISED GAINS AND LOSSES
for the 52 weeks ended 26 February 2005
                                                      Unaudited            Audited
                                                           2005               2004
                                                             £m                 £m
                                                  ----------------------------------

Profit for the financial year                              15.3               17.9

Exchange adjustments offset in reserves                     0.2               (0.1)
                                                  ----------------------------------
Total recognised gains relating to the year                15.5               17.8
                                                  ==================================


RECONCILIATION OF MOVEMENTS IN GROUP SHAREHOLDERS' FUNDS
for the 52 weeks ended 26 February 2005
                                                      Unaudited            Audited
                                                           2005               2004
                                                             £m                 £m
                                                                  (restated note 8)
                                                                           

Profit for the financial year                              15.3               17.9

Dividends                                                 (17.2)             (17.1)
                                                    -------------------------------
                                                           (1.9)               0.8

Other recognised gains and losses (net) relating 
to the year                                                 0.2               (0.1)
Share option charge                                         0.6                0.2
Issue of ordinary share capital                             0.1                0.4
                                                    -------------------------------

Net (reduction in)/additions to shareholders' funds        (1.0)               1.3

Equity shareholders' funds at 28 February 2004            244.3              243.0
(originally £246.6m before deducting prior period
adjustment of £2.3m)
                                                    -------------------------------
Equity shareholders' funds at 26 February 2005            243.3              244.3
                                                    ===============================


NOTES TO THE ACCOUNTS
for the 52 weeks ended 26 February 2005
                                                        Unaudited       Audited
                                                             2005          2004
1. Analysis of turnover                                        £m            £m

Home shopping                                               416.5         412.6
Door to door selling                                         24.0          33.1
TV Rental                                                     5.7           7.2
Financial services                                            6.7           8.7
Fulfilment                                                    7.4           8.9
                                                 ---------------------------------
                                                            460.3         470.5
                                                 =================================

                                                        Unaudited      Audited
2. Analysis of operating profit before goodwill              2005         2004
amortisation and operating exceptional items                   £m           £m

Home shopping                                                59.2         51.8
Door to door selling                                         (6.3)        (2.0)
TV Rental                                                       -          1.2
Financial services                                            1.2          2.4
Fulfilment                                                    0.3          0.8
                                                 ---------------------------------
                                                             54.4         54.2
                                                 =================================

                                                        Unaudited      Audited
                                                             2005         2004
3. Analysis of operating profit                                £m           £m

Home shopping                                             59.2            52.2
Door to door selling                                     (28.8)           (2.0)
TV Rental                                                    -            (8.4)
Financial services                                        (1.8)            2.4
Fulfilment                                                 0.3            (8.1)
                                                 ---------------------------------
                                                          28.9            36.1  
                                                 =================================

                                                         Unaudited     Audited
4. Analysis of goodwill amortisation and                      2005        2004
operating exceptional items                                     £m          £m

Amortisation of goodwill                                         -         0.6
Impairment of carrying value of tangible fixed assets            -         7.8
Impairment of carrying value of financial services             3.0           -
Impairment of carrying value of door to door selling
operation                                                     22.5           -
Write-off of carrying value of goodwill                          -         9.7
                                                  ---------------------------------
                                                              25.5        18.1
                                                  =================================        

                                                         Unaudited      Audited
5. Reconciliation of operating profit to                      2005         2004
operating cash flows                                            £m           £m

Operating profit                                              28.9         36.1
Decrease/(increase) in stocks                                  1.6         (4.7)
Decrease/(increase) in debtors                                17.6        (23.2)
Increase/(decrease) in creditors                               7.5         (9.6)
Depreciation                                                  10.9         12.6
Amortisation of goodwill and other intangible fixed
assets                                                           -          0.7
Impairment of goodwill and tangible fixed assets                 -         17.5
                                                  ---------------------------------

Net cash inflow from operating activities                    66.5         29.4
                                                  ---------------------------------

6. An interim dividend of 1.74p per ordinary share was paid on 7 January 2005 to
shareholders on the register at the close of business on 10 December 2004. A
final dividend of 4.10p per ordinary share is proposed to be paid on 27 July
2005 to shareholders on the register at the close of business on 1 July 2005.

7. The calculation of earnings per share is based on the profit for the
financial year of £15.3m (2004, £18.4m) and the weighted average number of
shares in issue during the year of 294.0m (2004, 293.0m). To assist comparison,
an underlying earnings per share has also been calculated to exclude the impact
of goodwill amortisation and operating exceptional items and is based on a
profit for the financial year of £33.1m (2004, £35.3m). For diluted earnings per
share, the weighted average number of shares of 294.7m (2004, 294.1m) has been
calculated after adjusting for the potential dilution of outstanding share
options.

8. The financial information set out above does not constitute the group's
statutory financial statements for the 52 weeks ended 26 February 2005 or the 52
weeks ended 28 February 2004. The financial information for the 52 weeks ended
28 February 2004 is derived from the statutory financial statements for that
year which have been delivered to the Registrar of Companies. The auditors have
reported on the financial statements for the 52 weeks ended 28 February 2004;
their report was unqualified and did not contain any statement under Section 237
(2) or (3) of the Companies Act 1985.

The accounts for the 52 weeks to 28 February 2004 have been restated following
the implementation of UITF Abstract 38 - Accounting for ESOP Trusts. The effect
of this change is that shares held within Employee Share Option Schemes are no
longer classified in the balance sheet as a fixed asset investment but as a
deduction from shareholders' funds. This change has no impact on the profit and
loss account. All other accounting policies adopted are consistent with those
set out in the Annual Report and Accounts for the 52 weeks ended 28 February
2004.

The auditors have not reported on financial statements for the 52 weeks ended 26
February 2005, nor have any such financial statements been delivered to the
Registrar of Companies.

This report was approved by the Board of Directors on 10 May 2005.

It is expected that the full Annual Report and Accounts for the 52 weeks ended
26 February 2005 will be posted to shareholders on 3 June 2005.





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