High-end Dublin grocery store group Donnybrook Fair turned back to profitability in the year to the end of January 2017 on the back of "improved trading" across its retail units.
The chain which grew from a single outlet at Morehampton Road, Donnybrook, recorded a profit after tax last year of €185,133, thereby reversing its loss-making position from the previous year when a loss of €390,883 was recorded, recently filed accounts show.
With five stores across Dublin, one in Wicklow, and a cookery school at its flagship Donnybrook store, the company posted a 15.7 per cent increase in turnover to €27.68 million.
The accounting period in question was the first full year of trading for the company's Malahide store, which "provided an opportunity for the group to launch new initiatives and categories within Donnybrook Fair", the directors said.
The chain’s gross profit of €9.3 million was ultimately dampened by an almost 18 per cent increase in administrative expenses to €9.4 million. Costs associated with a full year of trading at the Malahide outlet accounted for the “majority of the increased administrative costs within the year”, a note in the accounts said.
Directors Mary and Joe Doyle noted that other initiatives, such as strengthening the senior management team, introducing a new customer loyalty programme, and beefing up the brand's online presence also contributed to the increased costs.
Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Doyle noted that while the company wasn't currently scoping out any further sites, he said it plans to revamp of the Donnybrook store this year which will cost in the region of €500,000. "We're always looking to improve," he said, adding that it's "business as usual at the moment".
Some 239 people, including the two company directors, were employed at the company that also has branches in Stillorgan, Baggot Street, Grand Canal Square and Greystones, in Wicklow. The 44 new employees who joined the company in the period pushed wage and salary costs higher by 22 per cent to €5.13 million while the directors claimed remuneration of €40,253.
During the year the company made a gain of €423,464 on the sale of its Greystones property after which it entered into a sale and leaseback agreement.
Additionally, the company acquired 745,000 shares in Morehampton Foods Limited, an artisan food producer of which Mr Doyle is also a director, for €853,750. That company is currently used solely to service Donnybrook Fair's fresh food needs but Mr Doyle said it could be used to serve other retailers and that the company was looking at that prospect.
Donnybrook Fair had loans and overdrafts worth more than €9.4 million by the end of January this year – €4 million of which is due to be paid by the end of this month.