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Reporting a consistent trading performance in their preliminary results for 2010 released last week, Mallett PLC's turnover was £13.3m – the same as the previous year excluding the one-off auction of 59 pieces at Christie's which raised £700,000 in 2009.

Two individual sales were made for over £1m in 2010.

Following a £2m reduction in costs in 2009, the firm decreased their operating loss by £0.6m last year largely thanks to further cost cutting especially that relating to staff – average staff numbers were reduced by seven employees, including four at Clapham-based restorers Hatfields which are owned by Mallett.

For the coming year, Mallett expect to turn around the loss made from their interest in the Masterpiece fair: the event for 2011 is now projected to have 30 per cent more exhibitors.

Mallett have also added to their 20 per cent stake in Masterpiece after Asprey sold their shares to the four other founding partners. It means that co-founders Mallett, Apter-Fredricks, Ronald Phillips and fair-designers Stabilo now all have a 25 per cent stake each.

Thomas Woodham-Smith stepped down from the board of Mallett at the end of 2010 to concentrate more fully on the Masterpiece project. He will continue as a consultant at the firm he has been with for over 25 years.

Separately, Mallett have also sold a 40 per cent stake of James Harvey British Art Limited to James Harvey himself.