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Brown Thomas profits fall

The group behind luxury department store Brown Thomas has recorded a 72pc fall in profits, according to latest accounts filed.

Brown Thomas outlined that pre-tax profits fell from €81m to almost €22m in the year to February 2009.

As the economic downturn affected retail sales, the group revealed that its financial performance had deteriorated as the year progressed.

The high-end retailers said that the fall had coincided with "the sharp decline in the underlying economic fundamentals of the country and a drop in consumer confidence".

In the previous year a dividend of €70m was paid, but the most recent accounts outline a 90pc fall to just €7m, while operating profit was down from €23m to €14.7m. Brown Thomas said that it expected trading conditions in 2010 would continue to be difficult, with ongoing pressure on consumer spend and low consumer confidence.

In their report, the directors said they expect a focus on costs in the business will partly offset the negative impact on profits of lower turnover in the current year. The directors said that they believe the group's financial risk profile to be low.

"Liquidity and cash flow continue to be strong and credit risks are low due to the cash-based nature of the business and the strong cash flows generated," they said in the report.

The figures reflect gloomy statistics about the volume of retail sales falling lower than in previous years.