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The grim news came in the chairman’s statement published at the front of the annual accounts for the year ending October 31, 2001 and has driven the Board to alter their policy of not taking stands at fairs.

The company, who specialise in highly decorative furniture at the top end of the market, will take part in the Paris Biennale in September in a bid to boost profits.

Turnover dropped 57 per cent from £23,871,000 in 2000 to £10,247,000, with earnings per share down 90 per cent from 9.85p in 2000 to 1.03p.

Mr Partridge blamed the worldwide general economic condition for the difficulties experienced in trading in the first six months of the year, pinpointing the fall in American visitors to the UK as “considerable”.

The terrorist attacks of September 11 had badly affected the year end figures and gone on to cause the “most difficult and uncertain market conditions” Mr Partridge referred to, leading to a very slow start in the new year.

The Board is looking at ways of reducing costs and improving profitability, which includes the move to take a stand at the Paris Biennale.