Belfast Telegraph

Retail chain Menarys sees pre-tax profits up 50% as its recovery continues

By Mark Edwards

Family-owned retail chain Menarys has increased its pre-tax profits to almost £250,000 while turnover has fallen back slightly to £19.3m.

The latest accounts for Menarys Retail Ltd, shows pre-tax profits increased by more than 50%, rising from £162,000 to £249,000 for the year ending January 31, 2017.

The return to profit in the last two years comes after several loss-making years that resulted in store closures and debt restructuring.

And 2015 saw the closure of stores in Portadown and Dublin and a reduction in staff numbers, down from 361 to 338.

In 2014, Menarys entered into a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), a procedure used by firms which are under financial pressure.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, managing director Stephen McCammon said tough choices made by the company between 2012 and 2014 has led to a recovery.

"We had a particularly bad time," he said.

"We dropped into a very deep loss in the year ending January 2012.

"It was at that point we went through a number of steps to get ourselves back on an even keel again. From that point we had five consecutive years of improvement. Three of those have been reducing losses and the last two years have been growing profits, albeit modestly."

Menarys operates 16 outlets in Ireland, with 14 in Northern Ireland, with locations including Coleraine, Bangor and Cookstown. It employs 320 staff.

It sells a range of ladies' fashion brands, along with menswear and a variety of household items, as well as cosmetics.

Over the last year-and-a-half Menarys negotiated an exit from its relationship with Ulster Bank and moved over to the Bank of Ireland. Mr McCammon said the CVA and the change of bank has allowed his team to focus solely on improving the company's balance sheet.

"Because of that our whole team have been a lot more focused on getting back to business," he said. "Our people are very focused on product again. Over the last 14 months we have put forward better product proposals and have been offering better value to customers. In the first 31 weeks of this financial year we are 2.5% ahead of the previous year."

Mr McCammon added that a big factor in Menarys turnaround was the loyalty of its workforce.

Around 50% of its staff have worked for Menarys for five years or more, with more than 30% with the company 10 years or more.

"We have incredible loyalty from our team and that's been a big part of our recovery.

"It's not easy but we are putting on growth. For example, over the last 10 weeks we have put on 5% in profits compared to last year's numbers, and we are very comfortable with that - it is steady progress."

Belfast Telegraph

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