Lifestyle Sports scores a profit of €6.4m as chain benefits from improving economy
Profits at Lifestyle Sports - the chain owned by the Stafford family - soared 68pc to €6.4m in the year to September 2016 as it benefited from an improving economy.
Newly-filed accounts for Lifestyle Sports (Ireland), covering its roughly 50 outlets in Ireland, show that revenue in the period climbed 9pc to €101.2m.
Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) were 28.3pc higher at €10.2m.
The chain has defied intense competition in its sector, where rivals include Elverys and JD Sports. UK chain Sports Direct, controlled by founder Mike Ashley, has also muscled in on the Irish market.
The accounts for Lifestyle Sports also include its online operations. Stores in the North are not included in the statements.
The accounts show that the company, which employs about 470 full and part-time staff in Ireland, had just under €11m of outstanding, non-current bank loans at the end of its 2016 financial year. The figure was down from €11.1m a year earlier.
Wexford's Stafford family owns a number of businesses including Campus Oil, Stafford Fuels and Stafford Shipping. The group dates back to 1891 and has annual revenue of about €330m.
The group chief executive is Mark Stafford, who also heads up the Lifestyle Sports business. Before joining the business in 2000, he worked for Accenture in London.
Last year, a 100pc-owned subsidiary of Lifestyle Sports collapsed into insolvency, leaving creditors substantially out of pocket.
Accounts for 2016 for the subsidiary - Ebise Patrick Street Limited - showed that it had been owed by more than €600,000 by Lifestyle Sports (Ireland) prior to the 2017 financial year. It's understood that the main external creditor in the Ebise Patrick Street insolvency was River Island, which was owed about €600,000.
River Island had sublet a high-profile retail unit on Patrick Street in Cork to Lifestyle Sports through the Ebise subsidiary.
Meanwhile, Lifestyle Sports will face a fresh challenge in the coming months from French chain Decathalon.
The sports goods company has 1,350 megastores in 44 countries around the world and plans to open nine stores in Ireland, in cities including Dublin, Cork and Galway.
It has also opened an online sales channel for Ireland, having launched it in October. Decathlon plans to post 100,000 items to 50,000 shoppers in Ireland this year.
Although the chain is in talks to secure space for its first outlet, it could be some time before it opens most of its stores in Ireland.