Stanley Gibbons Group is hoping for an improved performance in the coming year.

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The group reported its full-year results had been impacted by the pandemic with sales falling 18% to £10.8m in the year ending March 31, 2021, compared with the previous year (£13.2m). The firm’s full year pre-tax loss widened to £4.1m (from £2.5m).

Following the split from its joint venture with St James’ Auctions earlier this year (see ATG No 2488), Baldwin’s Auctions will relaunch with a sale on October 6. The auction, its 103rd, will be held at the group’s headquarters at 399 Strand – the recently refurbished shop and saleroom.

Graham Shircore, chief executive officer, was upbeat for the year ahead. He said: “We have more active customers than we did at the start of the year and I believe that they are experiencing improved levels of service; however, financially, we have of course been bloodied by recent events. My own view is that Covid and its impacts have been a short-term negative. Already I know that the current year will be a busy one.”

The group highlighted a number of steps that it hoped would improve its performance in the coming year.

Its central London shop in the Strand reopened in April and it hopes “visitor numbers [will] jump particularly once tourist travel becomes easier”.

Stanley Gibbons also has high hopes for its purchase of the British Guiana 1c Magenta which it bought at auction in June (reported in ATG No 2497) and will offer fractional ownership of the stamp in due course.

The stock market-listed company is 58% owned by investment firm Phoenix. Phoenix provided £6.5m for the purchase of the British Guiana 1c Magenta and has granted a waiver of the defaults on loans to the group.

Stanley Gibbons Group said Phoenix is “a long-term investor” and has given “no indication that it would withdraw its support before March 2023 when the loan facility is repayable”.

Among the group’s ongoing issues is a cost relating to a property in New York (previously occupied by dealership Mallett) where the sub tenant has not been paying rent. In turn, Stanley Gibbons’ subsidiary has not paid rent to the landlord of the building.

Stanley Gibbons said “discussions continue to try to reach an agreement with the landlord. The remaining lease liability, including the £1m owed, is £4.5m.”