Business

Profits jump at Irish retailer Dunnes Stores

Dunnes Stores (Bangor) had pre-tax profits of £13.2m last year

IRISH retailer Dunnes Stores (Bangor) Ltd saw an 18 per cent jump in profits last year.

The Newry-registered firm had pre-tax profits of £13.2 million for the year to January 2016, compared to £11.2m over the previous 12 months.

However, turnover slipped 7 per cent to £127.6m as the company closed a number of stores in Northern Ireland.

Dunnes (Bangor) includes the the Northern Ireland and British arm of the Irish-owned retail giant.

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

The company was founded by Rostrevor man Brendan Dunne and opened its first outlet in Cork in March 1944.

Last year, the firm shut shops in Connswater, Antrim and Ballymoney while it scaled back its Portadown and Park Centre stores by closing the food halls at each stores.

That resulted in dozens of job losses, with the overall payroll falling to 1,474 from 1,592.

The company's wage bill actually increased from £17.4m to £18.5m although this included £1m pension costs (more than double the 2015 figure) and £249,000 for redundancies.

In their directors report filed with annual accounts, they said the "do not anticipate any (future) developments which would significantly impact on the business".

They also revealed dividends of around £310,000 paid to parent company Dunnes Stores (Henry Street) - less than half the 2015 figure.

Last month, it was revealed Dunnes had become the second most popular supermarket in the Republic behind SuperValu.

Sales at the retailer rose 6.2 per cent over the past quarter to capture 22 per cent of the grocery market south of the border.

Speaking at the time, David Berry, director of analysts Kantar Worldpanel said: "The biggest factor driving growth for Dunnes over the past year has been an increase in the size of the average shopping trip, which has grown by €33 to €38.10.

"Since its introduction, Dunnes' Shop and Save initiative has gone from strength to strength. The campaign has been very successful in persuading shoppers to spend more, and we've seen a whopping 18 per cent increase in shopping trips where consumers spend over €100 since last year."

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