- Colefax pre-tax profits fell to £1.79m in the six months to the end of October - down from £1.98m last time.

Sales were also lower at £34.04m - down from £35.14m in 2011.

But the group - an international designer and distributor of furnishing fabrics and wallpapers which owns a leading interior decorating business - increased the interim dividend to 1.90p per share from 1.85p last time.

Chairman David Green said: "The group's results for the six months to 31 October 2012 were broadly in line with expectations and reflect challenging market conditions in most of our major markets, especially the UK and Europe.

"Current trading conditions are still extremely challenging but we are cautiously optimistic about growth in our major market, the USA. Our other principal markets remain weak and I think this situation will continue for at least another year."

At 8:15am: [LON:CFX] Colefax Group share price was -2.5p at 235p

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