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Avoca weaves 3pc rise in pre-tax profits as it looks to expand again


Pre-tax profits at family-owned retailer Avoca last year increased by 3pc to €1.64m as revenues climbed to €48.6m.

Accounts just filed by Avoca Handweavers Ltd and subsidiaries show that group revenues increased by 6pc from €45.9m to €48.6m in the 12 months to the end of January last year.

The numbers the group employed increased from 568 to 597 last year (January 11), with group managing director Simon Pratt confirming yesterday that a further 80 jobs will be created this summer with the opening of an Avoca food hall and shop at Malahide Castle.

This follows the opening of a new Avoca food hall in Monkstown last November, which created 30 jobs.

Avoca designs and manufactures its own clothing, food and home furnishings from its Wicklow base and it has 10 retail stores and cafes in the island of Ireland.

Commenting on the group's performance to the end of January last, Mr Pratt said: "We are satisfied with the increase in revenue. In the current climate, we feel that this is a good outcome and reflects a huge commitment from a great team of staff and very loyal customer base."

On 2011, Mr Pratt said: "(Last year) has proved to be slightly better again with the mild weather in the run-up to the Christmas being a key ingredient."

On the group's continuing expansion, Mr Pratt said: "It would be easy to freeze like a rabbit in the headlights in the current climate and try to simply manage our business, but we are entrepreneurs and it is our duty to try and prudently create new jobs in Ireland."

The directors' report states that the group plans to continue to design and develop new and distinctive ranges of fashion garments and accessories.

The report states: "The group plans in the future to add further retail facilities to expand its overall business in a controlled manner." No dividend was paid last year.

The accounts show that the group had €14.7m in accumulated profits at the end of January last. Its shareholder funds stood at €23m.

The figures show that the company's operating profit last year (January 11) remained flat at €2.48m.

However, interest payments arising from the group's expansion totalling €813,201 reduced the group's profits to €1.69m. The group had bank loans totalling €16.2m.

The figures show that the group's cost of sales last year increased from €21.2m to €22.8m, while administrative expenses were €22.4m against €23.5m.

The group's staff costs last year increased from €15.6m to €16.1m, with remuneration for directors -- five members of the Pratt family -- totalling €1.34m.

Irish Independent