- Recruitment company Robert Walters said its first-quarter gross profit had fallen 12%, but was nevertheless ahead of expectations and it upgraded its guidance for the year.

Gross profit, otherwise known as net fee income, for the three months through March, had fallen to £77.3 million, down from £87.4 million year-on-year.

Robert Walters said positive trading momentum had continued through the first quarter underpinned by further signs of improving market conditions across its major regions.

It added that the large majority of its offices were open, though the picture remained volatile in line with local infection rates and government policies.

'The improvement in market conditions has already enabled the Group to benefit from operational gearing,' chief executive Robert Walters said.

'Whilst it is still difficult to be certain that there will be no further globally disruptive events ahead, the board is currently confident that profit for the year is likely to be comfortably ahead of market expectations.'

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