CHADDERTON-based low-price consumer brands firm Ultimate Products has suffered a fall in sales and profits.

However, bosses of the London Stock Exchange-listed company are putting on a brave face, revealing an order book which is putting the company ahead of its performance at the same stage last year.

Revenue in the year to July 31 fell 20.4 per cent to £87.6 million with the company blaming a difficult trading environment and a one-off impact of revenue deferral from a big European customer.

Pre-tax profits of £5.4 million were down 27 per cent on the prior year.

Meanwhile, online revenues were 52.3 per cent up at £7 million.

A newly-refurbished 240,000 sq ft warehouse at Heron Mill in Oldham is already improving operational efficiencies, and provides further capacity for future growth.

Meanwhile, a further 47 graduates have been recruited onto the group’s graduate scheme across 18 different entry-level roles and within nine different key departments.

Simon Showman, chief executive of Ultimate Products, said: “This has been a challenging year for Ultimate Products, and, indeed, for the wider general merchandise sector in the UK.

“Our results reflect a difficult trading environment, but I am proud of the adaptability and resilience that we have shown in navigating our way through it.

“The performance of our online business and the progress that we are making in Germany have been particular highlights,” he said.

He added: “These are areas for which we continue to see substantial potential and on which we are, therefore, focusing an increasing amount of time and investment.

“Current trading is in line with expectations, and we are pleased to report that our order book for FY19 is ahead of this time last year.

“While the UK market looks set to remain challenging for the foreseeable future, we continue to look to the longer-term future with confidence given the viability of our strategy, our experience of managing difficult trading conditions, and our strong balance sheet.”