Dunnes Stores records significant swing back into profit in the north

Dunnes Stores operate 15 outlets across the north. Picture by Hugh Russell.

THE northern operation of Dunnes Stores recorded a significant swing back into profit last year, a new set of company accounts have showed.

The Irish supermarket chain, which has 15 stores in the north, reported a pre-tax profit of £6.5 million for the 12 months to December 25 2021.

That followed a difficult 2020, when Dunnes registered an £8.1m pre-tax loss in Northern Ireland.

The return to profit followed a 16.7 per cent rise in turnover to £118.8m in 2021.

Dunnes Stores has significantly reduced its presence in the north and in Britain in the past seven years.

The grocer closed seven stores in Northern Ireland between 2015 and 2019 and pulled out of England and Scotland during 2018.

The group’s northern workforce continued to drop in 2021, falling by 47 to 987.

The Irish supermarket also took the unusual step of re-registering its northern business - Dunnes Stores (Bangor) - as an unlimited company in February 2022.

Private unlimited companies do not have to file accounts at Companies House, meaning the latest report could be the last time Dunnes Stores put the performance of its northern business into the public domain.

But the move also makes the shareholders personally liable to creditors if the company goes into liquidation.

A statement published with the Dunnes Stores accounts, signed by director Dr Anne Heffernan, said: "As a family company with generations of accumulated experience, we see things in the longer term and take our key business decisions accordingly.”