Increased sales at Hawkins Bazaar

The company behind the Hawkins Bazaar chain saw sales grow from �44m to �51m last year, according to its latest accounts.

Tobar Group, which owns the Hawkins Bazaar chain of shops and last year bought Letterbox, another chain of shops, said the year to the end of June 20 was 'a period of continued growth'.

Tobar, based at Worlingham near Beccles, increased its network of permanent stores from 46 to 54 during the year to the end of June 2010.

The number of temporary stores trading over Christmas 2009 increased from 50 to 65, its results said.

The business said it saw strong growth in its wholesale sales, from existing, export and new clients.

Earnings before income tax earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization increased from �3m to �3.2m. However, the firm's loss for the year, after tax, was �3.4m, up on the previous year's �3.1m.

The Hawkins Bazaar subsidiary turned over �32.8m, an increase on 2009, and had a profit after tax of �672,423.

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In its director's report, Tobar said there had been a restructuring which saw its permanent and temporary retail operations combined, streamlining operations.

It added: 'The key risk for the group derives from its supply chain. A significant volume of product is purchased from outside the UK, predominantly in foreign currencies. The movement in exchange rates could thereford have an impact on gross margins.'

However, it said this was managed through forward contracts for the purchase of currency.

Tobar has wholesale, mail order and online trading arms, including Hawkins Bazaar, Letterbox and Stocking Fillers.

No one from Tobar was available to comment on the results. According to companies house, one of the firm's directors, Joanne Marshall, who was appointed in Junary 2010, left the business in January. The business, which employed 488 people according to its results, is backed by investment fund Primary Capital.