Stobart growth hit as demand falters

STOBART Group’s profit growth was held back after the British freight company was hit by fluctuating demand in a tough economy, particularly at its biggest division, sending shares down more than seven per cent.

The company’s road transport operations suffered as panicky retailers launched early promotions amid the UK high street gloom.

However, the company said improved information technology systems, and resulting cost reductions helped it achieve profitability in line with earlier expectations.

First half to 31 August underlying pre-tax profit was £16.4m, compared with £15.4m a year ago.

Revenue rose 15 per cent to £281.1m.