MAIL ORDER and leisure group Littlewoods celebrated a 79% increase in first half profits with news that it also plans to trim £50m from costs over the next three years. Observers speculate that such a bearish move in bullish circumstance is intended to prepare the group for a flotation inside the next eighteen months. This was refuted by a company mouthpiece. Announcing pre-tax profits of £65.2m (£36.4) for the six months to 31 October, Littlewoods reported it had spent £1 million on set-up costs for Shop! , its Internet home shopping service. The company is committed, said chairman James Ross, ‘to developing a leading position in electronic shopping. Other opportunities in this field are being explored.’