Heatons profits £14.4m after broadening product range
BUDGET department store chain Heatons has posted a 56 per cent jump in profits.
The Irish group, owned by flamboyant Newcastle United owner and Rangers shareholder Mike Ashley, said its stores in Northern Ireland make £3.5m after tax in the year to April 30 2015 - up from £2.2m last year.
Results filed with Companies House in Belfast show turnover grew to £49.6m from £47.5m over the period.
Heatons sells a range of homeware, clothing and toys and has 10 stores across the north.
In their strategic report, directors said the company "experienced an improved competitive environment and a broadening of the product range which both contributed to sales growth".
They did not recommend the payment of a dividend for the year.
Staff numbers increased during the year to 498 from 452 making the firm's wage bill £5m - up from £4.6m in 2014.
Heatons (NI) is part of the overall Heatons Group which was founded in Athlone, Co Westmeath in 1946.
The group operates 54 Heatons outlets across Ireland and 27 Sports World stores south of the border.
The Tallaght-headquartered company employs 2,000 people in total.
Fifty-year-old billionaire Mike Ashley founded Sports Direct in 1982 after leaving school.
It is now the leading retailer of sports gear in the UK with 500 stores worldwide an a payroll of more than 24,000 people and annual revenue topping £2.7 billion.
Mr Ashley bought English Premier League club Newcastle United in 2007 and is also a shareholder at Glasgow giants Rangers.
Although popular with fans of Newcastle at first, Mr Ashley fell out of favour amid perceptions he did not release enough money to buy players.
Newcastle's stadium St James' Park was briefly renamed Sports Direct Arena after Mr Ashley's chain of sports stores from 2009 bur resorted to its original name three years later.