Northamber has sunk to a £310,000 pre-tax loss for its fiscal first half after taking a six-figure hit from the collapse of retail giant Comet.
The distributor also saw turnover fall by 22 per cent year on year to £41.5m for the six months to 31 December, which it said reflected the tough economic backdrop and the recent spate of retail business failures.
In its half-yearly report, executive chairman David Phillips revealed that the London-listed firm had absorbed a one-off loss of £217,000 from the collapse of Comet, which went into administration in November.
This propelled pre-tax losses to £310,000 for the period, smaller than the £418,000 loss posted a year earlier.
A reduction in the level of support available from vendors for marketing activities was also partly to blame, according to Phillips, who recently relinquished chief executive duties to make way for the arrival of Peter Hammett.
On the plus side, Northamber expressed confidence in its strategy of moving away from "empty revenue" stemming from partnerships with "tired and historic" vendors. This could be taken as a veiled dig at – among others – IBM, which CRN revealed had parted company with Northamber in January.
Phillip said the firm is focused on ensuring the distributor can cover its costs, but failed to muster much optimism for the year ahead.
"In view of the high level of uncertainty in the economy and most especially in the ultimate commercial user customer base, until there is more positive confidence in the economy, regretfully it is not possible to be positive about the immediate future," he said.
"We are fortunate to have deep strengths in our balance sheet and are capable of withstanding pressures. Coupled with the ability and willingness to detect and act quickly and decisively to changing circumstances, we are best placed to benefit from any commercially viable opportunity that becomes available that do not overly risk our custodianship of our shareholders asset base."
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