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Furniture firm Starplan vows to expand as sales hit £16.6m

By Margaret Canning

Furniture retailer and manufacturer Starplan has pledged to open more branches after it reported a 3.7% increase in sales to £16.6m.

The Dungannon-headquartered company was founded by the Wilson family in 1972, with the firm's first factory opening in 1978.

Starplan manufactures kitchens and bedroom furniture, selling it in stores in Belfast, Portadown, Newtownabbey, Bangor and Coleraine, as well as a number of outlets in England's Midlands.

For the 12 months to April 30 of last year, the business reported turnover of £16.6m, up by 3.7% from £16.1m.

However, pre-tax profits fell from £483,177 to £323,208.

While the company said it bought products in the eurozone, its annual report made no comment on any impact from the vote to leave the EU.

The firm's workforce increased slightly, from 208 to 210.

A group strategic report filed with the results at Companies House said: "The company directors are satisfied with the results for the year and the financial position at the year end.

"The directors are committed to long-term creation of shareholder value by increasing the group's market share through organic growth, including new branch openings, and will continue to invest in people, products and facilities in order to support this development."

The report said the company was "impacted by ongoing economic factors", but that the directors were still confident about the future.

It added: "Performance in the sector is affected by general economic conditions and specific sectoral factors such as the housing market and demographic trends, as well as product availability and price fluctuation."

The report said that the company's board carried out regular reviews into competitor activity, market trends and forecast and consumer behaviour.

Directors also monitored security of product supply, as well as the financial strength of the firm's suppliers.

The company made charitable donations of £2,500 during the year, mainly to benefit communities in the Dungannon area.

The report said the firm faced some commodity price risk, but that the cost of managing commodity price risk exceeded any benefits.

It added: "While the greater part of the group's revenues and expenses are denominated in sterling, the group is exposed to some foreign exchange risk in the normal course of business, principally on purchases of products in euro."

Three company directors - founder Mervyn Wilson, Ian McCreery and David Wilson - were paid a total of £159,597, including company pension contributions.

The firm's 210-strong workforce was paid a total of £3.35m, including social security costs and other pension costs.

Starplan Enterprises and Vono - both subsidiary undertakings within the group company - were dormant throughout the year.

The whole of Starplan Furniture's turnover came from the manufacture and sale of furniture, and all sales were made within the UK.

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