Jacques Vert celebrates return to black with first dividend payout in 15 years

JACQUES Vert, the womenswear retailer, has paid its first dividend for 15 years after swinging back into profit.

The company, which also owns the Windsmoor, Planet and Precis brands, yesterday posted a profit of 5.1 million for the 52 weeks to 24 April after racking up a 2.9m loss previously. It is proposing a dividend of 0.65p per share - the first time since 1995 that it has rewarded shareholders. Retail sales grew 4 per cent to 115.3m during the year after the firm significantly expanded its product range and made "exciting" progress with its online business.

The retailer, which specialises in wedding outfits, said it has seen similar levels of demand so far this financial year, with sales climbing 3.9 per cent in the nine weeks since 24 April.

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However, Jacques Vert chairman Steve Bodger admitted that the outlook for the next 12 months was "unpredictable".

He said: "These are a strong set of results and a return to the dividend list after an absence of 15 years is a sign of the confidence we have in the business.

"These results, together with the progress that the group has made during the year, demonstrate that the group is now well positioned to take advantage of any opportunities that may arise in what is likely to be an unpredictable year ahead."