Cost reductions and an improved top line led to business publisher and events organiser Vitesse Media almost halving first half losses.
The AIM-listed company, publisher of Growth Company Investor and What Investment among other titles, cut losses before tax 45% to £0.14m in the six months to July 31st on sales up 3.8% to slightly over £1m.
Executive Chairman Sara Williams said the first half benefited from an impressive performance from the Events team with sales up 32% thanks to strong growth from the M&A Awards and the first annual Techinvest event, with two new contracts secured for the second half.
Like-for-like sales for the small business editorial team also improved significantly, up 17% for the period as web traffic to smallbusiness.co.uk and growthbusiness.co.uk grew, with social referrals for both SME sites doubling.
Re-launched websites information-age.com and whatinvestment.co.uk showed increased visitor numbers online and via mobile.
Williams admitted that while the outlook for the second half remained challenging, several planned new products provided hope to the board that this would be a "more successful year".
She noted that following a renegotiation of Vitesse's bank financing, which resulted in a reduction of the credit facilities available to the company, the directors have agreed to cover the company by providing small loans to if it becomes necessary.
Unseasonable weather patterns disrupted first half sales at fashion and furnishings retailer Laura Ashley, hitting the shares
Total group sales slipped 5.6% to £137.3m in the 26 weeks to July 27th, with like-for-like retail sales down by 2.2%, although management emphasised their confidence and pointed to the group's historical second-half weighting.
Chairman Tan Sri KP Khoo, the Malaysian tycoon who owns 60% of the shares through the MUI Group conglomerate and his Bonham Industries vehicle, admitted the first half was a challenging one.
"A period of prolonged cold weather impacted fashion sales as customers continued to wear winter clothing and did not buy into Spring Summer ranges later in the season.
"The subsequent switch into a long spell of very hot weather, particularly throughout July, had a negative impact on Home Furnishing sales."
Together this contributed to the fall in like-for-like sales from its 209 stores, with even online sales falling, and a 6% profit decline to £7.8m.
Of the four revenue categories, fashion sales declined the most, 6.9%, with home furnishings (including lighting, beds, throws and cushions) down 2.3%, decorating (fabric, curtains and paint) down 1.7% and furniture sales flat.
Moreover, trading for the first eight weeks of the second half was down 1.3% like for like, which the company said reflected the "continued underperformance of the fashion category".
Laura Ashley is pursuing a store "realignment" programme and, although it opened two new stores, it closed five during the first half, reducing total selling space by 2.4% to 786,000 sq ft.
Work also continued on developing the company's website, after ecommerce fell 3.7% on the same period last year to represent 16.4% of total UK Retail sales.
Other developments included the opening of the 49-bedroom Laura Ashley hotel, The Manor, on August 1st to "extremely positive" reviews.
Khoo said management remained confident in both the quality of the product ranges and the underlying strength of the brand, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.
"Traditionally our performance has been weighted to the second half with particular emphasis on the final months of the year.
"We will continue to adjust our store portfolio to ensure it delivers a profitable core business and outside the UK, international expansion remains a key focus."