Sunday 22 January 2017

Shoes and jewellery credited with boosting Arnotts revenue

Published 21/12/2015 | 16:31

A man cleans Arnotts shop windows on Henry Street, Dublin, as retailers open their doors early to a relatively slow start on Black Friday. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
A man cleans Arnotts shop windows on Henry Street, Dublin, as retailers open their doors early to a relatively slow start on Black Friday. Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Shoes and jewellery helped to boost the performance at Dublin’s iconic Arnotts department store during its last financial year, as revenue rose 2.7pc to €114.2m in the 12 months to January 25, newly-filed accounts for the business show.

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Arnotts has since been acquired by international retailer Selfridges, part of the Weston family empire. The Westons also own Brown Thomas, while the family’s interests also include a major stake in Primark owner Associated British Foods.

The accounts for Arnotts Ltd – which don’t include the soon-to-be closed Boyers business - also show that Arnotts made an operating profit of €159,000 in the last fiscal period, compared to a pre-exceptional operating loss of €1.1m in the previous financial year. That previous financial year had been flattered by an exceptional gain in relation to the retailer’s pension scheme.

“The acquisition of the Arnotts business by the Selfridges group has been very well received by customers, employees and suppliers. We are pleased with the performance of the business since the acquisition and sales are well ahead of last year,” said new Arnotts managing director Donald McDonald.

The accounts show that the improved awareness of the store’s ‘Shoe Garden’ and Jewellery Hall continued to benefit the business.

The newly-filed accounts for the retailer also note that Selfridges is committed to investing in Arnotts by “enhancing the shopping experience for its customers, upgrading the store environment and introducing new premium brands”.

Since the financial year end, Arnotts has been boosted by the introduction of new brands, while its online offering “continues to drive significant additional growth”, noted the accounts.

During the year and as part of the restructuring of the wider Arnotts group, and the takeover by Selfridges, Arnotts’ net asset position has been improved to the tune of €324m. At the end of January this year, its net liabilities had totalled €280m.

In October, the Irish Independent revealed that Selfridges spent €103m buying loans connected to the Arnotts business, within days of the acquisition being approved by the competition watchdog.

Wittington Properties, controlled by the Westons, took control of the Arnotts store in in August in a deal with developer Noel Smyth.

That agreement divided the former Arnotts Group between the Westons, who keep and continue to trade the landmark city centre department store, and Noel Smyth's Fitzwilliam company which gets control of the group's remaining assets, including the nearby Boyers store and other properties in the area.

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