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Harry Corry confident despite huge losses of £630,000


Harry Corry operates 17 stores across Northern Ireland

Harry Corry operates 17 stores across Northern Ireland

Harry Corry operates 17 stores across Northern Ireland

Home furnishings firm Harry Corry is "hopeful" it will stem growing losses and return to profit next year, its boss has said.

The family chain, which previously reported losses of almost £630,000, operates 17 stores across Northern Ireland.

And this year, the retailer had to enter into an agreement to pay part of its debts to creditors.

But speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, boss William Corry said he was confident that no jobs would be lost and none of the chain's stores would close because of the company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

"Now we are paying market rent, that has been a big help," he said. "Hopefully, we will return to profit.

"The next few weeks will make a big difference. We hope to make a profit next year. Not one shop has closed."

The company boss added that he hoped to hold on to the loss-making stories that the firm has struggled with.

Losses at the business previously increased by more than 70%. The company was £364,000 in the red a year earlier.

While turnover remained roughly the same - sitting at £38m for the year - the business's losses increased to £630,000, but it grew its number of staff to almost 600.

In its latest set of accounts, the firm said its operating losses had increased "due to the ongoing difficult economic environment and the adverse currency fluctuations".

Harry Corry earlier this year entered a CVA, which allows the company to pay off its creditors over a fixed period, if enough of them agree.

In an extensive 95-page CVA proposal produced earlier this year for Harry Corry's creditors, the company said "performance is significantly hindered by its leasing obligations".

According to the details of the document, just two creditors did not accept the proposal.

William Corry said the CVA had been important in keeping the business going, with a reduced rate of rent helping the company significantly.

"They [the rents] were well down on what we had been paying, especially in the south of Ireland," he explained.

He added that losses "definitely won't increase" and the business could soon return to profit.

He also said the upcoming Christmas period was a key time for the company.

Earlier this year, Mr Corry poured cold water on claims that as many as eight of Harry Corry's 50 stores were to close.

One of Northern Ireland's best-known family firms, the company was established by the late Harry Corry, who set up shops in 1971 after initially starting life in the markets in Belfast.

The chain now operates 50 stores across the UK and Ireland - with 17 in Northern Ireland, 22 in the Republic and a further 11 in Scotland.

The business's first shops were opened in Belfast - on the Newtownards Road, the Shankill Road, Sandy Row and on Royal Avenue.

Since then, the home furnishings company has grown to become a household name here.

The founder of the firm died aged 82 in 2009 following a short illness.