Fine wine merchant Berry Bros & Rudd has reported a sharp decline in profits, following the sale of a number of businesses last year, including the Cutty Sark brand.

Pre-tax profits slumped from £28.4m to just £1.3m in the year to 31 March on sales down 23.3% to £165.4m, according to accounts filed this week.

“These figures distort the underlying performance of the business,” said chairman Simon Berry, due to exceptional items from the disposals. Operating profits provided a clearer picture, falling from £4.9m to £2.05m, he added. Though fine wine sales were not as buoyant as in 2010/11, “we have sold more cases of wine to more customers than ever before.”