Belfast Telegraph

Glittering success for jewellery chain Argento with record growth of £52m

Argento store
Argento store
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Revenue at the holding company of Northern Ireland jewellery business Argento has grown to £52m despite a "highly competitive" and discount-driven retail environment, the company said.

Gross profits at Denvir Holdings - led by founder Pete Boyle and his wife Ciara - were up from £23.5m to £27.3m, according to its accounts for the year ending June 30, 2017.

Pre-tax profits were also up from £7.7m to £7.8m.

Despite the growth, it added that risks to UK economic growth "remain significant".

Argento Contemporary Jewellery, part of Denvir Holdings, also reported sales up to £19.2m from £18.4m. Pre-tax profits were £1.65m, up from £1.59m.

The report for Argento Contemporary Jewellery - which sells brands including PILGRIM, August Woods and Nomination - added that there had been "a consistent increase in individual store turnover year on year".

The Argento chain has around 50 shops across the UK, and last year opened a store in Manchester's Trafford Centre.

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A strategic report filed with the accounts for Denvir Holdings, based at Cornmarket in Belfast, said: "The group is well established in the retail jewellery industry throughout the UK and Northern Ireland.

"Based on the turnover this year, the industry is performing well and appears strong despite the challenging economic environment."

The strategic report added that the firm faced risks arising from liquidity risk, currency risk and market risk. While the main currency for the group is sterling, the report added: "The political changes taking place at the signing of these accounts impact directly on the group through a decrease in the value of the pound against foreign currencies.

"The group has not historically hedged its currency risk due to the immaterial nature of exchange rate gains and losses. This position is under constant review by the directors."

And it added that business was being conducted "in a retail sector that has become highly competitive and driven by sales discounting".

"Politicial and economic uncertainties depress retail spending and discounting erodes profitability.

"Given the group's history and service within its workforce, the group is in a strong position going into the year ahead."

It said that while there had been growth in the UK economy during 2017, "the risks to UK economic growth remain significant".

"The group's strategy is to further enhance its position within the UK retail jewellery market by offering a unique customer experience."

Pete Boyle, from Strabane in Co Tyrone, started the jewellery business from market stalls on Belfast's Royal Avenue and Rossnowlagh Beach in Co Donegal. The group now has a staff of 771 - up from 579 the year before.

Speaking about the growth of the company last year, Mr Boyle said: "Not only have we been trading for 20 years, but we are seeing record growth and progression.

"Success is down to investment in the quality, beauty and variety of our products and also in our retail and distribution systems to maximise market reach and optimise customer accessibility."

Belfast Telegraph