Soft furnishings firm Bedeck swings back into profit after US deal

During the trading year Bedeck signed a deal giving it access to the $15 billion US market, plus exclusive rights to sell DKNY bed and bath products in Britain and Ireland
Gary McDonald Business Editor

CO Armagh-based bedding and soft furnishings firm Bedeck, which has stores and concessions throughout the UK, has swung back into profit after revealing an increase in sales in the year to last September helped by a new deal in the US.

The company, founded in 1951 by Alexander Irwin and which has a long history in manufacturing, posted a pre-tax profit of £1,413,737 against a loss of £205,537 the year before.

It came on a slightly higher turnover of £36.6 million, its latest accounts show (its 2017 sales were £35.2 million).

On a bottom-line basis Bedeck's retained profit was £1,139,940, meaning it had retained earnings at year-end of more than £7.5m.

Staff levels for the year remained steady at 325 in 2018, compared to 318 in 2017, with 191 retail staff making up the bulk of that total. The wages bill lifted slightly to £5.6m.

The family-run company's products are sold in a number of House of Fraser stores throughout Britain and Ireland, and its retail arm includes a factory shop in Magheralin, stores in the Linen Green in Dungannon, on the Lisburn Road in Belfast and The Boulevard in Banbridge.

During the trading year Bedeck tied up an exclusive deal with a US distributor which will help it access the $15 billion American home textiles market.

The deal will see its own-brand bed and bath linens products sold in stores across America for the first time as the result of the link with CHF Industries.

CHF is one of the largest branded and private label manufacturers of home textiles in the US, working with iconic brands such as DKNY and Peri Home.

Directors said Bedeck continued to develop new brands during the year to add to its portfolio which, in conjunction with a range of "well accepted designs", contributed to growth across all its sectors.

But they warned that the business faced a number of challenges resulting from the diversity of its customers, its supply chain in overseas markets, high working capital requirements and the seasonal nature of the trade.

The directors also said the business was exposed to the risk of rising prices of textiles, particularly cotton.

Earlier this year Bedeck - which is the main shirt sponsor at Glenavon FC - submitted a planning application to demolish its 8,000 sq ft warehouse at 187 Lurgan Road and replace it with a 20,000 sq ft dispatch building.

Documents submitted to Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council say the expansion will feature a showroom, office space, storage space and welfare facilities, and the project has been valued at close to £1 million.

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