It might be all smiles at UK Mail Group but UK Pallets appears to still be stuck in reverse gear.

The Hub described its previous financial year as one to forget, but the latest figures covering the year to 31 March 2014 suggest that description might have been hasty.

While the pallet business remained profitable last year, its turnover was down 0.7% year-on-year to £28m and it’s slipped again in this latest period, by 3.2% to £27.1m.

Operating profit was hammered in 2013, tumbling 59% from £2.09m to £842,000 [restated in the latest accounts as £800,000]. So there’s a certain relief to see it effectively stable in the twelve months to 31 March 2014 at £900,000 [for the sake of balance that’s actually an increase year-on-year of 18.8% as the amounts in question are so small).

Last year it was all about the coverage gaps that had hurt the network’s operating profit, something that parent UK Mail said had remained an issue, to a lesser degree, in this latest trading period.

It is “taking time for the new members to achieve the sales volumes that would be expected from established members”, UK Mail said in a statement, laying bare the talent drain its pallet network has faced in recent years.

However, despite a track record that suggests the business is going nowhere fast, UK Mail added that changes to the operation had been made and UK Pallets has “good long-term growth prospects”.