Robert Dyas' profits have slumped to their lowest level in three years as low customer numbers and 'drought conditions' hit sales.
Although total sales for the year ending March 31, 2007 were £104m (2006: £105m) – a drop of 1.1% – pre-tax profits stand at £3.6m, a 34.6% fall on 2006 at £5.5m; in 2005 profits were £7.9m.
Robert Dyas said in its business review, filed at Companies House, "High street footfall decline has been the main driver of our sales decline. We were also affected in 2006 by drought conditions across much of the South East, which affected our Gardencare products."
The business said that even though it controlled overall costs, the fixed costs of operating stores, particularly occupation costs, were hit, leading to a decline in EBITDA of £5.9m against £6.5m in 2006.
During the year Robert Dyas opened four new stores to bring the total number to 99. The retailer said the stores are trading satisfactorily.
Robert Dyas said its short-term goal is to resume growth in earnings 'primarily by achieving sales growth in existing stores, and by focussed investment in new standalone stores and concessions'.
It added: "We are well placed to make progress in what is still a difficult trading environment. The major initiatives establishing the building blocks for growth are complete. The 'Really Useful Store' proposition has been developed, implemented and delivering results."
The retailer said it is delighted with the 'excellent results' from its website, and will concentrate on developing concessions with Somerfield supermarket with the intention of opening ten this financial year.
"We look forward to the future with confidence," it added.