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SThree Plc (STHR:LSE), the permanent and temporary staffing group, has today released an interim management statement covering the quarter ended 28 February 2010.
Gross profits were down by -27% from 49.5 million Pounds in Q1 2009 to 36 million Pounds in Q1 2010. UK gross profits fell by -36% whilst non-UK gross profits declined by -19%. Non-UK now represents 60% of gross profits compared to 55% in Q1 2009.
Total group headcount at 28 February 2010 was up by 4.9% compared to the previous quarter but down by -22.3% compared to Q1 2009.
During the first quarter the Group continued its roll out of international offices, opening its second Australian office in Perth and adding to its German footprint with further openings in Munich and Dusseldorf.
Russell Clements, Chief Executive, commented "bearing in mind that year on year comparatives are distorted by big differences in headcount and quarter on quarter comparatives are complicated by seasonal factors, the overall picture is consistent with a market showing some meaningful signs of improvement in the first quarter. That said, trading conditions still have some way to go before they can be regarded as normal."
"Our most recent data is our current deal pipeline, which looks encouraging. This gives us the evidence to continue to selectively grow our sales teams to take advantage of improvements in market sentiment. At the same time the continued expansion of our international network reflects our commitment to building the longer term future of our business."
Finance Director Alex Smith told Reuters the banking and finance sectors in particular were showing significant improvement year-on-year.
In early trading SThree shares were up by +2.6% to 316.40 Pence.