Brown Thomas to hire 200 extra staff for Christmas

Company plans €5 million revamp of Grafton Street store

The newly refurbished ground floor area in Brown Thomas on  Grafton Street: the company’s revenues rose by 2 per cent to €146 million in the year to February 1st 2014. Photograph: Alan Betson

The newly refurbished ground floor area in Brown Thomas on Grafton Street: the company’s revenues rose by 2 per cent to €146 million in the year to February 1st 2014. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Brown Thomas is planning to hire 200 temporary staff to meet demand for the Christmas and new year sales period and is also set to invest more than €5 million in its flagship Grafton Street store in 2015, refitting its men’s and women’s clothing areas.

The number of temporary staff is up from the 150 it employed for the same period last year, and reflects improved trading and a desire to boost customer service levels, according to managing director Stephen Sealey.

“There were areas last year where we didn’t have enough people to serve our customers,” he said. “This will allow us to put clear blue water between ourselves and the competition in terms of service.”

Decent year

Its revenues rose by 2 per cent to €146 million in the year to February 1st 2014, according to accounts just filed for Carlow Investment Company Ltd. Its operating profit fell by €500,000 to €5.5 million.

Mr Sealey said the reduction in profits was due to its investment in launching its online store last year.

“The online investment took the shine off the profits,” he said. “If you strip out the online losses, the bricks and mortar business would have gone forward. Online will be a drag on profits [for a period] but I’m certain it’s the right thing to do.”

He expects online sales to rise to about €3 million in the current financial period compared with €300,000 last year while staff numbers in this area have doubled to about 45. “We will see sales double and beyond in the next few years,” Mr Sealey said.

Loan repayment

Mr Sealey expects revenues and profits to rise in the current financial year. “If current trends continue we will be up on last year but it’s all to play for in the next month,” he said.

Commenting on Brown Thomas’s results, Irishman Paul Kelly, who heads the Selfridges Group, said: “These results reflect our strategy to invest over €20 million in the past number of years in enhancing the Brown Thomas customer experience in store and online and reflect our confidence in the future growth potential of our Irish business and the economy.”

Mr Sealey said the water protest in early November in Dublin resulted in lost sales of about €150,000 at its Grafton Street store, although its BT2 shop in Dundrum Town Centre had a busier day as people avoided the city centre.