Belfast Telegraph

Profits at Dunnes Stores slump amid store closures

By Gordon Deegan

Pre-tax profits at Dunnes Stores, which this week announced that it was closing its food hall at the Park Centre in west Belfast, have slumped by 18% to £11.3m after a further slide in revenues.

According to accounts just lodged by Dunnes Stores (Bangor) Ltd to Companies House, the firm sustained the drop in profits as revenues decreased by 2.5% from £140.52m to £136.9m in the 12 months to the end of January 31 of this year.

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

However, 50 staff at its store in the Park Centre in west Belfast were told they would lose their jobs when Dunnes closes its food hall there. It has also shut stores in east Belfast, Antrim, Ballymoney and Portadown.

The figures show that the firm paid dividends of £764,000 last year to Irish-based parent Dunnes Stores (Henry Street), and this followed a dividend payout of £476,000 in the previous year.

The firm's profits narrowed after the revenue decrease, and gross profit margin last year increased from 37.84% to 40.1%.

The accounts offer the only insight into the finances of the family-owned business, as Dunnes Stores has unlimited status in the Republic of Ireland and is not required to file annual accounts to the Companies Office.

Numbers employed by the UK arm of the firm last year reduced by 132 from 1,724 people to 1,592. Dunnes Stores employs around 15,000 people in total in Ireland and the UK.

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

The first Dunnes Stores was opened by store founder, the late Ben Dunne, on Cork's Patrick Street in 1944.

Belfast Telegraph