Belfast Telegraph

Huge rise in profits as Smyth's toy seller expands

By Gordon Deegan

Sales of Power Rangers and 'Frozen' dolls last year helped family-owned Irish toy seller Smyth's enjoy a 34% increase in pre-tax profits in its Northern Ireland and UK operations to £4.3m.

New figures show that the Galway-headquartered firm enjoyed massive growth in 2014 in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK with sales climbing by 34% to £288m on the back of new store openings.

The firm only entered the UK market in 2007 and its business has grown exponentially in the UK since then.

The business is led by the four low-profile Smyth brothers, Anthony, Liam, Patrick and Thomas. All four brothers live in the west of Ireland.

Accounts just filed with Companies House in the UK for Smyths Toys UK Ltd show that the business record pre-tax profits of £3.8m as revenues jumped by 38% from £185.78m to £256m.

According to the directors, they "are very pleased with the increase in profit, particularly given the current economic climate and the increasing competition in the marketplace".

The directors state that the 38% increase in sales was boosted by the opening of nine stores in the UK last year and sales growth in its existing stores.

Smyth's operates six stores in Northern Ireland and figures for Smyth's Toys NI Ltd show that pre-tax profits increased here from £400,000 to £500,000 as revenues increased by £2.4m to £32m. The firm's stores in the province are located at Belfast, where there are two stores, Bangor, Newry, Ballymena and Londonderry.

Numbers employed by the UK and Northern Ireland units last year increased by 322 from 1,070 to 1,392, with staff costs increasing by 38% going from £13.8m to £19m.

Northern Ireland employee numbers grew from 146 to 159.

Further expansion is planned in the UK market in the coming years.

Combined shareholder funds at the UK and Northern Ireland firms totalled £13.2m that included £5m in cash.

The UK firm spent £13m on operating leases during the year.

In the Republic, Smyth's operates six stores in Dublin, two in Limerick and Cork, and individual superstore outlets in Navan, Galway, Tralee, Naas, Dundalk and Drogheda.

Smyth's immediate parent company is Smyths Toys HQ in the Republic. The ultimate parent company is Smyths Toys Holdings.

Belfast Telegraph

Weekly Business Digest Newsletter

This week's business news headlines, directly to your inbox every Tuesday.