"Our performance has been sound in a tough first half," said William McGrath, chief executive for AGA Rangemaster Group, maker of range cookers and other kitchen appliances. McGrath's comments came as part of a July 2012 trading update, released in advance of the group's six months results release in August.
In the first half of 2012 Aga Rangemaster overall revenues and operating profits, excluding property profits, were down slightly lower, but the group still expects revenue and profit growth for full year 2012 as product and cost initiatives take effect.
The group's official results for the six months ending June 30, 2012, will be released Aug. 24, 2012.
The group reported that encouraging progress was offset by tough market conditions, which impacted the group's Irish operations and Grange home furnishings business particularly hard.
"A strong May followed by a quiet June reflected the patchy nature of the consumer markets," an AGA Rangemaster statement said.
AGA saw cast iron cooker growth of 4%, reflecting the successful introduction of its new Total Control. Total Control pairs traditional looking cast iron Aga electric cooker with programmable electronic controls. The group said International displays of Total Control, installed during in the first half of 2012, are expected to boost sales in the second half.
The group saw Sales in Ireland fell further in very weak markets. Rangemaster, the UK's leading range cooker producer, saw UK cooker volumes edge down while exports to continental Europe continued growing. Sink sales volumes, linked to housing completions, were up. The group's Fired Earth business - selling wall and floor tiles, paints, and plumbing fixtures - saw sales up over 6%.
AGA Marvel, the group's North American operation, established new refrigeration product lines in the market, and these sales are helping replace sales to one major customer. Grange home furnishings had a further difficult time in North America and revenue and cost initiatives continue to be focused on returning the overall Grange operation to profitability.
"We have tremendous brands led by our re-energized AGA ranges and key product lines are starting to gain momentum," McGrath said. "International sales growth remains a central objective. This will become clearer in a year in which we expect further progress."
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