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Aga maker hit by 'patchy' sales
Aga Rangemaster has reported patchy sales in the first half of the year
The firm behind cast iron Aga cookers has reported a drop in half-year profits as "patchy" consumer behaviour hit sales.
Aga Rangemaster, which also sells refrigerators and sinks, said a strong May was followed by a quiet June, while its furnishing business Grange struggled in the period.
The Leamington Spa-based group sold 4% more cast iron cookers in the six months to June 30, driven by sales of its Total Control - a cooker that looks like the original but is an electric equivalent controlled by a hi-tech touchscreen.
Despite the drop in revenues and profits, which will be confirmed in its interim results later this year, the group continues to expect revenue and profit growth for the full year.
Elsewhere, the group said its Irish business was also weighing on the overall performance. Its Rangemaster business saw UK cooker volumes a little lower but exports to the continent continued to grow despite the ongoing eurozone debt crisis.
Sink sales volumes - which link to housing completions - were up, Aga added, while its Fired Earth business, which sells floor and wall tiles, saw sales up over 6%.
The group's North American operation, AGA Marvel, benefited from the launch of a new range of refrigeration products.
William McGrath, group chief executive, said: "Our performance has been sound in a tough first half. We have tremendous brands led by our re-energised AGA ranges and key product lines are starting to gain momentum."
Shares were 3% lower after the update.
But Matthew McEachran, analyst at Singer Capital Markets, said there was "firm evidence of the turnaround gaining momentum" in Aga's key brands.
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