Business World

Sunday 20 October 2019

Debenhams losses soar to €20.6m in Ireland

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Gordon Deegan

Exceptional costs at the Irish arm of troubled retailer Debenhams last year contributed to pre-tax losses soaring to €20.64m at the company.

Debenhams operates 11 stores in Ireland.

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New accounts filed by Debenhams Retail (Ireland) Ltd show that the company incurred exceptional costs of €18.77m. The company made a pre-tax loss of €246,000 in 2017.

The business recorded a pre-tax loss of €1.86m before exceptional items as revenues dipped by 1pc to €168m in the 12 months to the end of September.

The directors said "the external economic and commercial environment is expected to remain uncertain and volatile in 2019". Earlier this year, the Irish firm's UK-based parent entity, Debenhams PLC, was placed under the control of administrators with the Irish business continuing to trade as usual.

However, the new accounts show that as a result of a strategic review of the Irish business carried out in the second half of the year, the company revised projections for all of its stores.

This resulted in impairment costs on its stores and onerous lease charges of €13.7m after the review identified stores "at the risk of becoming unprofitable over time and others where anticipated future performance would not support the carrying value of store assets".

The review also resulted in a non-cash impairment charge on goodwill of €3.38m while an exceptional charge of €1.68m was also incurred concerning the Debenham's 'Redesigned' strategy including redundancies due to store restructuring.

During the year, the percentage share of sales at bricks and mortar stores totalled 83pc with 17pc of sales online. This compared to a sales mix of 86pc from the store network and 14pc of sales online in 2017.

Numbers employed fell from 1,454 to 1,373 and staff costs dropped from €30.9m to €29.5m.

Non-cash depreciation costs last year totalled €3m.

Irish Independent

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