Aardman feels the pinch from advertisers yet profits hold steady

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Shaun the Sheep has been exported around the world (Source: Getty)

Aardman’s animated commercials have suffered their worst sales for 13 years as nervous advertisers delayed campaigns, taking the shine off an 11 per cent rise in group revenues.

Aardman Holdings, whose characters include Shaun the Sheep, Arthur Christmas and Morph, said uncertainty surrounding the EU vote and US election led the commercials market to “suffer considerably” last year, although this business remained “highly profitable” with a gross margin of 29 per cent.

The group posted revenues of £26.3m, helped by the popularity of Shaun the Sheep merchandise. A sequel to the movie is due for release in 2019. Wallace and Gromit merchandise also continues to sell well. 

Overall pre-tax profits for Aardman were broadly flat at £2.7m during 2016, compared to £2.9m in the prior year, with the final figure helped by tax credits offered to UK animators and merchandise sales, the firm's latest accounts show. 

The business, set up by Peter Lord and David Sproxton in Bristol in 1976, initially made the stop animation series Morph for Tony Hart's children's television show Take Hart. The plasticine character was revived last year for a run on Sky.

The Aardman studio has been nominated for ten Oscars and won four. 

Read more: Aardman co-founder talks crowdfunding Morph