BOURNEMOUTH'S retirement homes giant McCarthy & Stone has seen profits fall by 66 per cent.

It said it had been stung by exceptional costs linked to a change in strategy.

Bottom line pre-tax profit fell to £3.6million in the six months to February 28, as the business booked £14m in charges.

McCarthy blamed "restructuring and redundancy costs, realignment of land bank to deliver steady state volumes and consultancy fees" for the profits fall.

Revenue rose 17 per cent to £280.5m, but the forward order book is also 17 per cent behind last year at £485m.

The firm said that shortfall was down to organisational changes within the sales operation and a planned lower level of releases.

Last year, McCarthy unveiled a major cost-cutting drive as new chief executive John Tonkiss ordered a shift in focus from growth to increased returns on investment and improving profit margins.

He said: "We are making significant progress across our strategic objectives, which focus on optimising our operations to deliver strong financial performance and increasing our return on capital employed, margins and cash generation over the next three years.

"We are mindful of the economic and political uncertainty that all businesses are currently facing, but are confident that our full year 2019 expected volume out-turn remains in line with the board's expectations."