Uniform and workwear producer Alexandra Plc has reported an 8.1% increase in annual pre-tax profit, as sales fell below company expectations.

Profit rose to GBP6.02m (US$11.8m), while turnover for the 2007 fiscal year also increased, by 5.8% to GBP81.48m, for the year to 31 January 2007.

The company said that total sales were below initial estimates for the year, as underlying sales growth was impacted by public sector spending cutbacks and management's focus on securing the customer base of new subsidiaries.

It said that the integration of two acquisitions made in the financial year 2005/6, namely Prima Corporate Wear Limited and de Baer plc, was a major task during the year.

Gross margin improved overall to 39.6% at the group, from 39.3% last year, the company added.

"Although the past year proved to be challenging, the group has emerged from it stronger, with two quality acquisitions now fully integrated and trading well. Market conditions offer good opportunities for organic growth and the full benefits of the improvements made to product procurement and re-sourcing will support margins moving forward," said Julian Budd, Alexandra's chief executive.