The Northern Ireland operations of retail giant Dunnes Stores last year returned to profit to record pre-tax profits of £6.42m (€7.25m).
New accounts filed by Dunnes Stores Bangor show that the company recorded the return to profit as revenues increased by 17pc from £101.75m to £118.76m.
The pre-tax profits of £6.4m follow a pre-tax loss of £8.1m in 2020, a positive swing of £14.5m.
The family-owned Irish retailer in 2018 completed the shut down of all of its stores in England and Scotland but continues to operate in Northern Ireland where it has 15 stores including four in Belfast, two in Derry and two in Newry.
According to the directors’ report signed off by director Dr Anne Heffernan, the group’s and company’s balance sheets “are robust with strong cash flow and no external funding”.
In a report accompanying the accounts, Dr Heffernan states “as a family company with generations of accumulated experience, we see things in the longer term and take our key business decisions accordingly”.
In a rare statement on the progress of the Dunnes business, Dr Heffernan said: “Dunnes Stores philosophy is summed up by ‘Better Value’. The board of directors believes that this philosophy underpins the success of the company in its first 75 years and it continues to guide us into the future.”
Dr Heffernan also stated: “As a retail business, almost every decision we make is about providing customers with the widest, freshest range of food products and the most exciting fashion and homewares brands and in-store experience.
She said: “All of our stakeholders work hard to achieve this. We know we depend on all of our people and partners and we aim to be a responsible partner and employer.”
Numbers employed by Dunnes Stores (Bangor) Ltd reduced from 1,034 to 987 and staff costs remained at the same level at £14.89m.
The pre-tax loss also takes into account non-cash depreciation costs of £2.8m.
The most recent Kantar Worldpanel survey shows that Dunnes Stores has the largest share of the grocery market sector in Ireland at 22.3pc.
At the end of last year, the company’s accumulated profits stood at £45.19m while its cash funds increased from £26.45m to £38.06m.
The company’s cost of sales last year increased from £80.35m to £90.89m with operating expenses decreasing from £24.8m to £21.7m.