Revenues soar at Arnotts after Selfridges takes control of store
Department store in the black as owners invest in-store and online
Arnotts, the landmark Dublin department store, has staged a remarkable turnaround with revenues jumping by almost 11pc in the year to January 2016.
For the last three months of the period, the store was under the ownership of the Selfridges Group, which is owned by Galen and Hilary Weston. After struggling under massive debts and sluggish sales in recent years, Arnotts achieved strong sales growth.
Turnover approached €72m, up from €65m for the period, according to accounts that will shortly be lodged at the Companies Office.
The business, which is the country's oldest and largest department store, delivered an operating profit of €1.1m, compared with a loss of €43,000 in 2015.
Donald McDonald, managing director of Arnotts told the Sunday Independent: "We are very pleased with the results for last year and we look forward to building on the progress that we have already made in a short period."
"We have exciting plans for the store and we look forward to revealing many more new and exciting initiatives to our customers in the future," he added.
Arnotts has introduced a number of new brands including MAC, John Lewis Home, Whistles, Life Style Sports and Charlotte Tilbury.
It has also carried out a number of store improvements with new shop fit-outs across womenswear, menswear, home and children's wear departments. In addition, Arnotts has upgraded its online presence and there are plans for a further significant investment in Arnotts.ie.
During the year there was capital investment in the store of €1.5m and staff numbers grew by 20 to 487.
Arnotts' debts to Ulster Bank and IBRC, the former Anglo Irish Bank, were sold in December 2013. Half of Arnotts' debt, which was owed to Ulster Bank, was bought by Fitzwilliam Finance, a vehicle led by property developer Noel Smyth.
Apollo, an American investment fund, bought the other half of the debt in Arnotts. After a long stand off, Smyth acquired Apollo's stake in the retailer last year.
The whole business was then bought by Selfridges, which also owns Brown Thomas. Accounts for parent group Shel Holdings filed in the Companies House in Britain last week state that Selfridges acquired 100pc of Arnotts for a consideration of €60m.
According to the Arnotts accounts, a significant restructuring of the balance sheet followed, which included a number of asset sales such as the sale of Boyers & Co on North Earl Street and the car-park on Middle Abbey Street.
After Selfridges took over the business, a release of a bank guarantee resulted in an increase of reserves of €312.2m. This write-back, together with a profit on disposal of fixed assets, profit on the disposal of a financial asset and income from shares in a subsidiary, gave Arnotts Ltd a paper after-tax profit of €340m.
Commenting on the results, Paul Kelly, managing director of Selfridges Group said: "We were delighted to be in a position to secure the future of Arnotts and we look forward to further enhancing its iconic status."
Sunday Indo Business