Tubby profits for Character; FESTIVE SALES STRONG SAYS TOY MAKER.
Byline: GRAHAM HISCOTT
TOP toy maker Character Group is predicting a very 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% to nearly PS98million with profits rocketing to PS7.1m from PS200,000 the year before.
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 is hoping to make child's play of growing sales with a little help from Teletubbies and The Clangers. It expects to launch toys based on classic TV series The Clangers next June after bagging rights to the make a range earlier this year.
Then in August it was appointed the new global Master Toy Partner for the BBC's iconic pre-school children's hit the Teletubbies. Character has 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 downturn and proven a moneyspinner for those behind them.
Entertainment One, which owns the rights to Peppa Pig, said recently that the pre-school character who likes to jump in muddy puddles is on course to generate more than $1bn (PS640m) a year in global TV and merchandising sales.
Character Group, which has reported strong order numbers in the past year, rewarded shareholders with a jump in its proposed dividend payout.
Character is reliant on its nine best-selling toy range 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 its profit forecasts for 2015 by 25% to PS10m.
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