starplanFurnitureCoFalling gross margin dragged profits down by a quarter at eleven-store bedroom furniture vertical Starplan in the year to end April.

EBITDA* slipped 26 per cent to £1.2m as gross margin fell by 180 basis points to 60.1 per cent for the Dungannon based manufacturer and retailer. Pre-tax profits declined to £78k (2013: £523k).

Privately owned Starplan trades from 11 stores across Northern Ireland, North West England and the Midlands, including a factory showroom at its headquarters, and a new store in Belfast.

Sales in 2013–14 were flat, dipping less than 1 per cent to £17m. Though profits declined, cash generation was strong with a net £1.1m inflow from operations and year-end net debt being cut to £5.2m (2013: £5.3m) after combined tax, capex and debt repayment and servicing costs.

* excludes amortisation credit of fit-out monies totalling £198k in both 2012–13 and 2013–14.