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Tubby profits for Character; FESTIVE SALES STRONG, SAY TOYMAKERS.

TOP toy makers Character Group are predicting a merry Christmas after posting a surge in profits.

Storming sales of kids' favourites from Peppa Pig and Fireman Sam to Doctor Who and Minecraft helped boost the company's coffers in the year to the end of August.

Takings jumped 46 per cent to nearly PS98million with profits rocketing to PS7.1million from PS200,000.

Executive chairman Richard King said: "The new financial year has started off well with very pleasing sales at the consumer level which, in the lead-up to the crucial Christmas season, is building ahead of our expectations. We look forward to further growth in the current year."

Character are hoping to make child's play of growing sales with help from Teletubbies and The Clangers.

They expect to launch toys based on classic TV series The Clangers next June after bagging rights to make a range earlier this year.

In August, Character were appointed the new global Master Toy Partner for the BBC's iconic pre-school children's hit Teletubbies.

Character have big plans for the Teletubbies beginning with a range of products sold from 2016.

The firm said: "Teletubbies is a worldwide phenomenon launched in 1997. "It has retained a global iconic profile, it is instantly recognised and keenly followed by many."

Toy sales have held up well during the economic downturn and proven a moneyspinner for those behind them.

Entertainment One, who own the rights to Peppa Pig, said recently that the pre-school character is on course to generate more than PS640million a year in global TV and merchandising sales.

Character Group, who have reported strong order numbers in the past year, rewarded shareholders with a jump in their proposed dividend payout.

Character are reliant on their nine bestselling toy ranges which, between them, account for three-quarters of the firm's turnover.

Last year's results are a bounce back from an awful first half of 2013 when the firm plunged into the red.

Analysts toasted the improved figures, with Charles Stanley raising their profit forecasts for 2015 by 25 per cent to PS10million.

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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion Column
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Article Type:Financial report
Date:Dec 4, 2014
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