Orla Kiely expands overseas as sales climb 20% to €11m


ORLA KIELY’S fashion empire continues to expand, with sales increasing by 19 per cent to £9.42 million (€11.7 million).

Despite the growth in business, pre-tax profits at Kiely Rowan plc fell 57 per cent from £423,277 to £178,306 in the 12 months to the end of last March.

Operating profit decreased by 41 per cent from £456,953 to £266,925. Interest payable totalling £88,619 reduced the firm’s profits to £178,306.

The Irish designer – best known for her quirky, retro stem prints – runs the firm with her husband, Dermott Rowan. The business received a boost after the Duchess of Cambridge wore one of Kiely’s dress coats.

It sold out within minutes of her public appearance last February. Ms Kiely’s products are sold in more than 30 countries.

Ms Kiely’s and Mr Rowan’s report attached to the accounts lodged with the UK’s Companies House says they “are satisfied with the improvement shown in the year ended March 31st despite the hard economic conditions”.

“The directors hope that turnover will continue to increase, partly due to further overseas expansion in the US and Asia and also due to an increase in the number of retail outlets.”

During the year, the designer opened a store in New York and one in Taiwan. The directors point to the possibility of a double-dip recession in the UK and “to mitigate the impact of this, we are expanding our product offering and developing our international and internet businesses”.

Gross profit increased 5 per cent to £3.9m, though gross profit margin decreased from 48 per cent to 42 per cent.

Ms Kiely and Mr Rowan received aggregate remuneration of £311,667 last year. The two directors own the name “Orla Kiely’ and the fee paid by the plc for using that name during 2011/12 came to £94,279.