Blame for profits halving in the year to end December can be laid squarely at the door of a new warehouse system, according to Suffolk housewares distributor George East.

Pre-tax earnings slipped by 54 per cent to £684k in 2014, though lower sales were also a contributing factor and fell 7.2 per cent to £17.1m year-on-year.

Management said the decline in profits was “wholly attributable to the problems encountered implementing a new operating and warehouse management system” though they cautioned that the system was now bedded in, and delivering efficiencies across the business.

Despite profits falling, the business generated strong cashflow and moved from net debt of £490k at 1st January to having net funds of £462k at the balance sheet dateline 12 months later.

George East’s myriad housewares product line is sold into major independent and group retailers, spanning firms such as Cargo Homeshop to department and furniture stores such as Atkinsons of Sheffield, Browns of York and Collingwood-Batchellor.

The company is part of the diversified non-food distribution group Smartwares based in Amsterdam, which operates a number of companies and has global sales over €450m.