StockMarketWire.com - Furnishing fabrics and wallpaper maker Colefax Group said the ongoing weakness of the dollar is hampering its efforts to increase profitability.

The group today unveiled pretax profits of £1.82m for the six months to October 31st, up slightly from £1.76m a year earlier.

The rise in profits was on the back of sales of £31.7m, up from £31.25m.

The interim dividend was maintained at 1.34p a share, partly due to uncertainty about the impact of the weak dollar.

'The most significant factor affecting the group's results is the continuing weakness of the US dollar and its impact on our ability to make improvements to profitability,' said chairman and CEO, David Green.

'I believe that the trading environment in the US, our most important market, will remain favourable for the remainder of the year. In contrast, trading in Europe and the UK could become more difficult.'

Earnings per share increased more strongly than pretax earnings, up by 11.7% to 6.87p from 6.15p a year earlier, partly due to share buybacks.

During the latest period, the group bought and cancelled 1 million shares for £930,000, representing 5.24% of the group's share capital.