- Findel, a market leader in the UK home shopping and education supplies markets, remains on track to deliver another year of strong profit growth and an operating margin in excess of 7%.

Group sales in the 16 weeks since the half-year are up 1.1%, with strong sales in the 8 week period since the announcement of the interim results, 4.2% ahead of prior year.

In the financial year-to-date, group sales are up 0.5% with a continued strong performance from our largest business Express Gifts. Overall, the group remains well on track to deliver another year of strong profit* growth and meet its stated goal of entering the medium term target operating margin* range of 7-9%.

The group also announced that chief executive Roger Siddle intends to step down at the end of the current financial year.

Siddle was appointed group CEO in September 2010 when Findel was severely challenged.

Under his leadership Findel's performance has improved significantly and net debt has been materially reduced.

Given the considerably strengthened position of the group and the Kitbag strategic review, with the potential for change in the shape of the group, he has decided that this is the appropriate time for him to pursue alternative options for his career.

In light of the potential for change in the shape of the group, the board has decided not to seek a replacement group CEO immediately. David Sugden, currently non-executive chairman, will become executive chairman with effect from the beginning of March while the board considers the appropriate longer-term leadership structure.

Sugden, who led the group as executive chairman from March 2010 up to its successful refinancing in March 2011, will work alongside executive directors Tim Kowalski, group finance director, and Phil Maudsley, MD Home Shopping.

Sugden said: "On behalf of the Board, I would like to take the opportunity to record our appreciation for the substantial contribution that Roger has made. His leadership, expertise and dedication have helped to transform a Group that was in real distress into one with increasingly strong performance and prospects."

Siddle added: "It has been a real privilege to lead Findel over the past four and a half years. I am proud of what the team has achieved and the substantial progress that has been made. I am confident that the Group will go on to even greater heights in the years to come."

At 9:07am: [LON:FDL] Findel PLC share price was +6.75p at 210.75p

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