Irish books retailer Dubray paid a dividend of €2.5 million to its parent company Eason last year, in a period when its turnover rose by 40 per cent but its profit declined marginally due to increased overheads and a reduction in Covid-related pandemic supports.
Latest accounts for Dubray Books Ltd show the dividend payment included “pre-acquisition reserves” of €705,000. Eason acquired Dubray in February 2020, just one month before Covid-19 pandemic lockdown restrictions were introduced by the Government here.
Dubray’s turnover rose to just under €14 million in the year to January 29th, 2023. This compared with revenues of €10 million a year earlier, when significant lockdown restrictions were in place. No pandemic-related financial supports were recorded by the company for last year, compared with just more than €700,000 a year earlier.
In a note to the accounts, the directors said they were “pleased with the commercial performance of the company for 2023. The outcome illustrates the consumer appeal and ongoing growth potential of the Dubray brand.”
Staff numbers rose from 72 to 87 during the year, with its payroll costs rising by 38 per cent to just under €3 million.
Dubray operates as a separate brand within the Eason group.
In a letter to shareholders last week to accompany its annual report, Eason chairman David Dilger said the Dubray brand “continues to perform well” and he noted the expansion of the business, including the recent acquisition of the Gutter Bookshop in Dublin.
“The Henry Street and Dundrum stores have been relocated and a new store opened in Swords, with plans proceeding for a further new opening in Waterford. We have also just concluded the acquisition of the Gutter Bookshop, with stores in Temple Bar and Dalkey, representing an exciting new brand addition.
“We have also made significant investment in the Dubray online platform, with the benefits being reflected in the current year’s performance,” he added.
However, he said Dubray “did struggle during July and August with [wet] weather having an impact on the key Grafton Street and Galway stores”.
Founded by Helen Clear in Bray in 1973, Dubray was acquired by her daughter Gemma and her late husband Kevin Barry in 1988. Dubray was owned by the Barry family until the sale to Eason and had eight outlets at the time of the deal.
Accounts for Eason retail group show its turnover rose by 7.7 per cent to €112.7 million while pretax profits were 11.4 per cent higher at €4.4 million. Its online store accounted for a quarter of book sales, up from a fifth a year earlier.