Northamber has returned to profit in first half of fiscal 2011 according to an interim management statement (IMS) but Chairman David Phillips voiced a cautious outlook that speaks of the parlous state of the UK economy.
The distributor made an operating profit of £151,000 in the period to 31 December - split almost equally between operations and investment revenue - compared to a loss of £41,000 a year ago as sales went up 6% to £67.7m.
"A trading slowdown plus December's weather, supported the cautious optimism expressed in November's IMS," said Phillips.
However, he noted competitive market pressures resulted in a 0.6% reduction in comparative gross margins, "and there are a few specific product areas, we will of necessity now be keeping under very close scrutiny".
Cash in the bank fell from £13.5m a year earlier to £12.1m - representing 47% of net assets - as N'amber shortened the amount of time it took to pay creditors.
Phillips proclaimed that "reasonable progress" had been made to rebuild sales in light of the recessionary years with "tight controls" and inherent asset protection" the tenants of the strategy but the UK is not yet out of the woods, he said.
"We must not now ignore the probable effects from this latest 'squeeze' on the UK economy and the consequential adverse effects no those arguably discretionary expenditure elements within our offering.
"The foretaste afforded by January's trading, confirms our view of the future remaining one of the caution with the need for close and tight management. Our overall goal remains one of seeking the re-growth of profits and turnover whilst maintaining effective controls," said Phillips.