Operating profits before exceptional items fell from £1.3m to £1.1m, while sales from its UK and Eire operations contracted from £13.8m to £12.6m, which the company said reflected a competitive marketplace and increased online competition.

Sales across France and Belgium showed marginal increases although its Dutch operations contracted by 5.3% to £6.1m.

Chief executive Tony Rafferty said that costs related to the development of its crowd-sourced graphic design initiative, TemplateCloud and its white label offering for the graphic arts sector, W3P, had impacted on overall profit on the year.

“The results hide the fact that we have evolved TemplateCloud and W3P to really significant Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings internationalising them into eight languages. That has required development, operational and marketing costs,” he explained.

Referring to Printing.com’s print franchise network and online services Flyerzone, Drukland and BrandDemand, Rafferty said that these would remain central to the group and in the short term would continue to be the main source of earnings.

“The European market has been very challenging and that has pulled back some of the momentum we had in the previous year, so yes the earnings have tightened, but the underlying cash generation in the group remains strong. We have no debt in the group,” he added.

Moving forward Rafferty said there was a refocusing of emphasis within the group, with three distinct revenue streams coming from its franchise and online channels, W3P.com, and TemplateCloud.com.

He said the company had reached the point where the new SaaS initiatives had moved from development to deployment and that the outlook for new international partners was “encouraging”.

“We expect to attract a lot of digital and commercial printers to use the W3P platform. What we are offering is a game changer for web-to-print,” he added.

“Our number one focus for the year is to gain momentum with our SaaS initiatives. That is going to incur cost so we doubt our earnings will significantly move forward this year but once they are firmly embedded the profits will begin to take care of themselves.”

As part of the “repositioning” and refocusing of the group’s operations Printing.com is to change its holding company name to Grafenia to “reflect the broad graphic nature of the group’s activity” and to avoid confusion and misunderstanding when marketing the TemplateCloud and W3P offerings.

All brands including the Printing.com franchise, will remain the same.

“We are more than just a printing company. We are a software development house that offers slick, clever and innovative services and our name change reflects that,” said Rafferty.

The name will be rubber-stamped at the company’s next AGM.