Turnover at Belleek Pottery boosted by 11% growth in UK sales

Belleek Pottery has grown its turnover to £8.6 million on the back of a three per cent increase in sales over the past year.
Gareth McKeown

FERMANAGH based Belleek Pottery has grown its turnover to £8.6 million on the back of a three per cent increase in sales over the past year.

The porcelain company, which began trading in 1857, has seen its turnover boosted by increased sales in the UK market, which has grown by 11 per cent to £3.9 million, although this was offset by a nine per cent fall in European sales (including the Republic of Ireland), which fell by nine per cent to £1.8 million. Sales in the rest of the world rose marginally to £2.9 million for the year ending March 31, 2017.

The firm has been further boosted by "better than anticipated" online sales.

Belleek Pottery,which makes high quality ceramic giftware for the home and export markets and operates an extensive retail division in both Northern Ireland and the Republic has also recovered from a loss in 2016 to post a pre tax profit of £37,298.

Meanwhile the company's wage bill fell slightly to £3.1m for the year, with staff numbers down from 149 to 143 over the year.

In the firm's strategic report filed with Companies House in Belfast, the directors said they were "satisfied" with sales and forecast performance will continue to improve in the years ahead.

"The directors are satisfied that the sales target was achieved and surpassed this year. This has been achieved with better than anticipated sales in the business and the new ranges introduced in 2017 performing better than expected. The North American market continues to be challenging and fell slightly during the 2017 financial year."

The directors believes that the improved performance will be sustained as a result of continued promotional lines and the development of new product lines. They have projected sales of £8.8 million for the financial year ending March 31, 2018 and expect the company to make a profit of £200,000.

In order to achieve this they are implementing a number of cost control measures which include reducing stock, greater wage control in both its factory and shops and introducing two new channels of distribution.

In the late 1980s, Belleek Pottery reinvented itself as a modern lifestyle brand with massive international appeal, under the guidance of Dundalk-born businessman Dr George Moore.

Dr Moore who had a personal wealth of around £200m invested heavily in the brand, but died suddenly at his home in America in 2013 aged just 61.

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