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Gordons Chemist recruits 169 extra members of staff as sales increase to £86.9m

By Ryan McAleer

The group behind one of Northern Ireland's largest pharmacy chains expanded its workforce by 169 last year, a new company report has revealed.

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N&R Gordon Ltd, which owns 53 Gordons Chemist outlets here, saw sales improve by £5.8m in the 12 months to April 30, 2018.

Revenue rose 7% to £86.9m for the year, with pre-tax profits surging by 13.8% to £5.9m for the same period.

Against the backdrop of one of the most challenging periods in the history of high street retail, the expanding chemist chain has reported a £7m growth in sales in just two years, with pre-tax profits rising by £1.1m over the 24 months.

Gordon's 53 outlets include nine pharmacies in Belfast. In 2007 the company expanded into Scotland, where it now runs nine branches.

The new report, which was made public this week, has revealed the extent of a significant recruitment drive by Gordons in the 2017-18 year.

The company's workforce increased from 662 in 2017 to 831 as of April 30, 2018.

The chain recruited an extra 21 managers, totalling 169, with 148 new sales staff brought on board.

That resulted in a considerable increase in staff costs, which rose from £11.9m to £15.9m over the year, with the wage bill alone rising by £4.3m to £14.6m.

The report indicates that N&R Gordons Ltd acquired a business entity in Donaghadee during the reporting period. The Co Down town is where Gordons began life as a single pharmacy in 1980.

Donaghadee Partnership was acquired in May 2017, producing a turnover of £3.5m since the takeover.

The acquisition of other pharmacies has been a key trend in the company over the past 40 years.

The business was co-founded by Neil Gordon and his brother Robert.

Neil passed away in 2014, but Robert remains at the helm of the firm.

The Gordon family retain a strong presence on the seven-strong board of directors.

According to accounts for N&R Gordon Ltd, directors' emoluments totalled £1.1m last year.

The company's highest paid director received £393,708 for the reporting period.

That compared with £100,000 paid out in 2017.

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