JulianBowenA 130 basis point gross margin improvement helped profits rise at Midlands furniture wholesaler Julian Bowen in the year to end June.

The privately owned Nottinghamshire supplier grew pre-tax earnings by 25 per cent to £1.2m, as gross margin increased to 28.9 per cent.

Its profits uplift came despite falling sales, which were down 3.8 per cent to £18.4m, its lowest top line figure since 2007–08.

The business generated a net £1m cash from operations (2013: £1.1m) with year end net funds rising to £310k (2013: £245k) after tax, capex and shareholder dividends.