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Dawson International targets UK growth as 2009 sales fall

Cashmere manufacturer Dawson International has outlined plans to sign up UK agents in a bid to grow the UK wholesale business for its Kinross and John Laing brands.

Dawson International chief executive Andy Bartmess said the company, which operates in the branded and private label knitwear and home furnishings markets, would look to secure between 100 and 150 UK wholesale accounts in “high-end independent clothing stores” within the next four years.

In the UK Dawson International has 12 accounts for John Laing, as well as two franchised Kinross stores in Edinburgh. The company also supplies private label cashmere product to couture houses.

In its full-year results for the year to January 2 Dawson International saw revenue fall 15% year-on-year to £72.9m, while profits rose 5% to £2m.

Dawson International said that the sale of its loss-making cashmere business Todd & Duncan to Chinese supplier Ningxia Zhongyin Cashmere Company in August, generated cash of £5.4m, helping the company to end the year with £12.3m in funds and no debt.

David Bolton, chairman of Dawson International said: “In a year of global economic recession and an uncertain outlook in all of our markets, Dawson International delivered a satisfactory trading performance from continuing operations.”

He added: “Through the planned exit from loss-making divisions in 2009, the current year presents an opportunity to build on solid foundations and focus entirely on our profitable core businesses. A key priority during the year will be to seek ways in which to reduce the pension deficit and associated costs…This is likely to restrict any development of the group through potential acquisitions until substantial progress is made in this area.

Bolton concluded: “Although there are some signs of markets stabilising, we expect trading to continue to be tough throughout 2010.”

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