Belfast Telegraph

Dunnes Stores sees profits surge by 17%

By Gordon Deegan

Pre-tax profits at the main Northern Ireland and UK arm of Dunnes Stores last year surged by 17%.

The firm sustained the increase in profits in spite of revenues decreasing by 7% from £136.9m to £127.56m in the 12 months to the end of last January, according to accounts just lodged by Dunnes Stores (Bangor) Ltd to Companies House in the UK.

Pre-tax profits hit £13.19m.

The accounts offer the only 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.

Revenues at the firm in 2012 had totalled £157m, and the dip in revenues at the company since then comes against the background of reports last year that Dunnes was planning a major UK expansion, eyeing the opening of up to 40 new stores.

The figures show that the firm paid dividends of £310,000 last year to Irish-based parent, Dunnes Stores (Henry Street) and this followed a dividend payout of £760,000 in the prior year.

The Newry registered firm's revenues are generated in the UK and Northern Ireland, where Dunnes Stores operates a total of 29 stores, 20 of them in the province and the remaining nine in England and Scotland.

Numbers employed by the UK arm last year fell by 118 to 1,474 and, across the group, Dunnes Stores employs around 14,000 people in total in Ireland and the UK.

Staff costs at the Northern-Ireland based company last year increased by a million pounds, growing from £17.42m to £18.47m.

Dunnes is one of the largest employers in Ireland, operating 116 stores here, and the group has annual estimated revenues of more than £2.2bn.

Dunnes Stores' fortunes in the Republic are on the rise, with the latest Kantar Worldpanel recording that it increased its sales by 6.2% to a market share of 22%, to rise to second position overall in the most recent three month period.

The directors of the Northern Ireland firm, Frank Dunne and Margaret Heffernan, are the driving forces behind the Dunnes Stores success story of the modern era.

The accounts for the NI firm show that its operating profits increased by 13.5% from £10.5m to £11.9m.

The firm's profits were boosted last year by £1.2m in interest receivable and other income of €4.4m.

The firm last year paid corporation tax of £3m.

Belfast Telegraph