If the Shoosmiths fits

Stop us if this starts to sound familiar, but have you heard the one about the firm that posted an 83 per cent profit rise in the midst of the deepest recession since the Ice Age?

Take a bow Shoosmiths (see story). Chief executive Claire Rowe has shown that you really do reap what you sow after forcing through more than 100 redundancies, bringing in flexible working and offering all staff earning over £25,000 a 3.5 per cent pay cut in the past year.

That’s some cost-cutting exercise. We can only assume that staff were not asked to bring in their own toilet roll, but the days of four-ply quilted luxury probably came to an end some time in the autumn.

After all that butchery, an 83 per cent rise and the parallel 69 per cent PEP hike may not come as a surprise. Turnover, however, is still down, meaning anyone claiming a revival in the firm’s fortunes is probably taking something of a panglossian view.

But if this reporting season has shown us anything, it’s that profitability hasn’t been driven by revenue but by cost reduction.

And if the double-dip does rear its ugly head, the next 12 months could again see more cuts than an Argentine steak house.