Aga Rangemaster has experienced a “tough” autumn for orders and admitted that revenues are likely to miss last year’s level.
With autumn sales slightly below the previous seasonal peak, the Leamington-based group expects annual revenues to be marginally short of the £259 million achieved in 2010, although its profits are still on track to grow.
Chief executive William McGrath said: “As we anticipated, the autumn has been very tough.”
Shares were three per cent lower after its announcement to the London Stock Exchange prompted Numis Securities to cut its full-year underlying profits forecast by £1 million. Its new estimate of £6.8 million is still up on the £5 million achieved by Aga last year.
Aga said sales of cast iron cookers will be down this year but added that its new “instant Aga” was performing well and now accounted for one in three Aga orders.
The cooker looks like the original but is an electric equivalent controlled by a hi-tech touchscreen and can heat up in 22 minutes, compared to around six hours for the original design.
The company said the product was attracting a wider audience, which it hopes to extend to international markets. Its Rangemaster cookers have secured more than half the UK range cooker market by value but revenues are still below last year because of slower European markets.
Mr McGrath added that conditions were unlikely to improve in the near future but said the company was well placed for any upturn.
The UK generates around 61 per cent of the company’s sales, with Europe delivering 23 per cent and North America and the rest of the world accounting for 16 per cent.
It notched up £19.9 million in bottom-line profits in 2010 against £500,000 the previous year, although the result included a £16.3 million boost from changes to its staff pension scheme. The company has taken steps to offset the consumer downturn, including restructuring its operations in the United States.