Mallett, a publicly traded antiques and fine art dealer, recently published its results for the six months ended June 30. The London and New York based company posted a pretax profit of GBP 0.2 million, a figure that represents a GBP 0.1 million increase compared to the same period last year, although it is still below the GBP 0.3 million achieved in 2011.
Although Mallett’s total sales dropped slightly to GBP 6.6 million, from GBP 6.7 million in the first half of 2012, gross profit remained constant at approximately GBP 1 million.
The art dealer credits its positive financial results mainly to the improvement in the U.S. market. The turnover for Mallett’s U.S. operations almost doubled from the same period last year, from GBP 1.7 million in 2012 to GBP 3.4 million in 2013.
The upturn in the U.S. market has caused the company to revise its planned subletting of part of its New York showroom, a measure considered in line with its 2013 strategy to contain costs.
“The market in the U.S. has been dwindling for some years, and we thought we would be able to save a significant amount of money whilst keeping a presence in New York by letting out part of the showroom,” Mallet’s Finance Director, Michael Smyth-Osbourne, told Skate’s. “Then the economy picked up and the business started coming in, as a result of which we are revisiting the U.S. strategy,” he added.
In terms of further property management changes, the company announced that it has signed an agreement to sell its freehold Clapham property for GBP 2.65 million. The expected completion date of February 21, 2014 is to give enough time for Mallett’s restoration subsidiary Hatfields to relocate. Mallett’s board is looking into how best to manage the proceeds from the sale, including a possible return of cash to shareholders.
Despite the fact that the market in the UK has proved difficult during the reporting period, and although the company remains cautious as to its outlook, there are signs of improvement, Mr. Osbourne said. Masterpiece London Limited, of which Mallett owns over 23%, staged its fourth fair at the end of June, which saw a 20% increase in attendees to almost 34,000 over the eight days of the event. Mallet’s share of the profit is expected to be approximately GBP 85,000, compared with GBP 83,000 last year.
The art retailer reported modest sales in Brazil and China, in line with the company’s 2013 strategy to promote Mallett in these and other emerging markets.
Finally, the company announced its continued focus on turning the Mallett website into a competitive e-commerce platform. “Websites are becoming a key sales tool for any business, and we would like to use our website for both marketing and sales and additionally, turn it into an educative tool, with proper photos, history and background of the antiques,” Mr. Osbourne said.
During the reporting period, the company completed the sale of the business and certain assets of James Harvey British Art Limited.
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