Belfast Telegraph

Cost-cutting programme sees Dunnes Stores' profits soar by 29%

by gordon deegan

Cost-cutting at the UK arm of Dunnes Stores meant that profits jumped last year, despite falling sales.

Pre-tax profits at the UK division of the Irish-owned retail giant soared by 29% to £15.9m in the year ending to February – even though sales fell by 5% to £157m.

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

The Newry-registered firm's revenues are generated by 34 stores operating in the UK and Northern Ireland – 23 in the north, six in England and five in Scotland.

Most of its increase in profit last year can be attributed to cost-cutting. The firm's cost of sales decreased by 9.5% from £107.5m to £97.25m while operating expenses were slashed by about £2m to £45.6m. Staff costs of £18.89m were down by 6%, or more than £1m.

The entire Dunnes Stores group employs about 15,000 people in the UK and Ireland.

Now the second largest player in the Irish grocery market, just behind Tesco, the firm operates 116 stores in the Republic.

Figures from Kantar Worldpanel show that it managed to grow its market share by one percentage point in the past three months, in the face of fierce competition from Lidl and Aldi, to 23% of the market.

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