The Northern Ireland company behind jewellery retail chain Argento has reported sales of £19m for the year to the end of June 2020, down 14% from £22m.
Denvir Holdings, which is led by directors Pete Boyle and his wife Ciara Denvir, also had pre-tax profits of £1.6m, up six-fold from nearly £250,000 a year earlier.
A strategic report filed with the accounts said there had been some reduction in trading levels due to Covid-19 though Argento had continued to trade online in the pandemic.
However, its physical stores were forced to close as lockdowns meant that all but ‘essential’ shops had to pull down their shutters.
Employees were paced on furlough while other government grants were taken up, and there were also cost-cutting measures, the company report said.
But it added that several of its landlords had also offered rent concessions, and it was confident about future trading.
“The directors are confident that the group will be fully operational once all lockdown restrictions have been lifted and a normalisation of trading activity resumes.”
Staff numbers fell from 376 to 306, while there was a corresponding drop in the company pay bill from £4.8m to £3.6m.
It also said distribution and administrative expenses had been “well constrained” during the year, resulting in operating profit of £1.7m compared to £332,304 the year before.
It added that the group was performing well and “appears strong” despite the challenging economic environment. But it warned there was a risk in future from another outbreak of Covid-19 leading to further potential closures.
Of its turnover, £17.9m had come from the sale of goods, while the remainder was classed as rental income.
A figure of nearly £470,000 under other operating income included £100,000 received under the business grant scheme for firms in retail, leisure, tourism and hospitality, the accounts added.
There are around 23 Argento stores in total across Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the Republic.
It sells jewellery from in-house brands such as Argento and August Woods, as well as names like Guess, Nomination and Pandora.
It formerly owned 26 Pandora shops in Scotland and England, focusing on the Danish charm bracelet brand, before selling them in 2018.
in 2020, the company revealed a revenue drop of 55% to £23m for the previous year as the impact of offloading the Pandora portfolio left its mark.
Pre-tax profits were down from £14.3m to just under £249,800.
The company’s flagship store in Belfast’s Royal Avenue had also been closed during the year to June 2019 as a result of the 2018 Primark fire.
In contrast, its annual turnover during the 12 months to June 30, 2018 was £51.2m, while pre-tax profits were £14.3m on the back of the one-off £7m brought in from the Pandora store sale.
Pete Boyle and Ciara Denvir are also the owners of the Let’s Go Hydro watersports business in Carryduff.
The company has diversified into offices with investments including Laganview House on the corner of Ann Street and Oxford Street through its Angus Properties division. It had been occupied by Irish software company Teamwork.