Bargaintown returns to profit after fall in staff costs
WHILE Harvey Norman continues to suffer bruising losses in the Irish market, new figures show homegrown furniture giant Bargaintown has returned to the black.
The Dublin chain notched up profits of almost €30,000 in the year to last October, against losses of €1.3m a year earlier, new accounts show.
Owned by brothers Alan and Norman Prendergast, Bargaintown is one of Ireland's biggest indigenous furniture players, with eight stores in the Dublin area.
Last year's return to profit came despite the July opening of Swedish furniture giant Ikea and continued stagnation in the new homes market.
Noting the "very difficult economic environment", the brothers said they were "satisfied" with the company's 2009 trading and "continue to monitor closely trading performance".
The comments were made in the directors' annual statement and the Prendergast brothers could not be reached for further commentary yesterday.
The accounts show the improvement in Bargaintown's fortunes came as headcount reduced by 17 to 111, triggering a €500,000 fall in staff costs.
The 2009 year also benefited from a €300,000 reduction in other operating costs, while a dividend of €30,000 that was paid in 2008 was not repeated.
Despite the recovery in Bargaintown's fortunes, its directors are still personally guaranteeing €8.2m of debt to AIB, while the bank also has a mortgage over apartments held in Islandbridge.