Menarys hopes to be back in profit after surviving financial woes
Family fashion chain Menarys will return to profit next year after more than a year of financial difficulties, its managing director has said.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Stephen McCammon - who is the third generation in the business - said the last few months had been "difficult", after it entered a voluntary arrangement with its creditors.
It's also since refinanced and moved banks, with Mr McCammon confident the business will be back in the black by 2016.
Menarys, which operates 14 outlets in Northern Ireland and three in the Republic, narrowed its losses to £900,000 for the year ending January 31, 2015.
The business turned over just over £21m in the period.
That was slightly down on the previous year.
In 2014, Menarys entered into what's known as a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), which is a procedure used by firms which are under financial pressure.
Menarys said it had forecast a "return to profit in January 2016".
It shut three outlets last year, included ones in Portadown and Dublin.
"Immediately after that (the CVA) we refinanced, moved bank, with a significant reduced debt position," Mr McCammon said.
"It's had four years of losses being reduced, and based on the last eight months we will be back to profit by next year.
"We believe we will be into profit for the year ending January 31, 2016."
He said the hopefully busy Christmas period was key for the business to begin to creep back into profit.
Menarys employs around 500 staff, while around 300 others work for other businesses within its stores.
"The last number of years have been very difficult. We are 92 years in business, and have been through an awful lot in that period of time.
"It's been challenging for the team, and the management.
"We have a dedicated loyal team, with over 100 people who have been in the business for more than 10 years."
Mr McCammon said job losses are "not on the agenda", as the company looks to improve its balance sheet.
"We have gone through a number of years where it has been about squeezing.
"Now we are in the position to take the business forward."
Menarys has stores across Northern Ireland, and sells a range of ladies' fashion brands, along with menswear and a variety of household items, as well as cosmetics.