Monday 20 November 2017

Dunnes' UK profits up despite fall in revenue

Dunnes’ Margaret Heffernan
Dunnes’ Margaret Heffernan

Gordon Deegan

Pre-tax profits at the main Northern Ireland and UK arm of Dunnes Stores last year surged 17pc.

The firm sustained the increase in profits in spite of revenues decreasing by 7pc from £136.9m (€153.84) to £127.56m in the 12 months to the end of January last, according to accounts just lodged by Dunnes Stores (Bangor) Ltd to Companies House in the UK.

Pre-tax profits hit £13.19m (€14.8m).

The accounts offer the only insight into the finances of the family-owned business as Dunnes Stores has unlimited status in the Republic and is not required to file annual accounts to the Companies Office.

Revenues at the firm in 2012 had totalled £157m and the dip in revenues at the company since then comes against the background of reports last year that Dunnes was planning a major UK expansion, eyeing the opening of up to 40 new stores.

The figures show the firm paid dividends of £310,000 last year to Irish-based parent company Dunnes Stores (Henry Street) and this followed a dividend payout of £760,000 in the prior year.

The Newry-registered firm's revenues are generated in the UK and Northern Ireland, with Dunnes Stores operating 29 stores in the UK and the North, broken down between 20 in Northern Ireland and nine in England and Scotland.

Numbers employed by the UK arm last year reduced by 118 to 1,474 and across the group, Dunnes Stores employs around 14,000 people in total in Ireland and the UK. Staff costs at the Northern-Ireland based company last year increased from £17.42m to £18.47m.

Dunnes is one of the largest employers in Ireland, operating 116 stores here and the group has annual estimated revenues of €2.5bn.

Dunnes Stores' fortunes in the Republic are on the rise with the latest Kantar Worldpanel recording that the retailer increased its sales by 6.2pc to a market share of 22pc, to rise to second position overall in the most recent three month period.

Recently, Dunnes awarded its workforce a fresh 3pc pay increase, making it a cumulative 12pc pay increase in the last four years.

The directors of the Northern Ireland firm, Frank Dunne and Margaret Heffernan, are the driving forces behind the Dunnes Stores success story of the modern era.

Tax The first Dunnes Stores was opened by company founder, the late Ben Dunne, on Cork's Patrick Street in 1944.

The accounts for the firm show its operating profits increased by 13.5pc from £10.5m to £11.9m.

The firm's profits were boosted last year by £1.2m in interest receivable and other income of €4.4m.

Last year, the company paid corporation tax of £3m.

Irish Independent

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