01 June 1998

THE HITHERTO flawless Flying Flowers mail-order operation encountered a profits blight after a failed ad campaign caused the dumping of £500,000-worth of unsold plants. Walter Goldsmith, chairman of the Jersey-based company, said fewer customers than predicted had responded to a press campaign by the group's Gardening Direct subsidiary, resulting in a reduced profits forecast for the year to December, down from £8.9m to £6.5m. Shares slumped by 45%, from 550p to 300p.