Littlewoods Ireland profits rise on strong advertising push

Home shopping retailer records a near 10% increase in turnover to €68m from €62m

Littlewoods Ireland reported pretax profits of €5.4 million last year, versus €2.5 million for the same period in 2015

Littlewoods Ireland reported pretax profits of €5.4 million last year, versus €2.5 million for the same period in 2015

 

Pretax profits more than doubled at Littlewoods’ Irish unit last year as turnover jumped 9.7 per cent, newly filed accounts for its parent Shop Direct Ireland Limited show.

The home shopping retailer, which also offers financial services, ditched its famous print catalogue in May 2015 after 80 years and now only operates online. The move has not hurt sales however, which grew across all segments of its Irish business in the 12 months to the end of June 2016.

Littlewoods Ireland reported pretax profits of €5.4 million last year, versus €2.5 million for the same period in 2015.

Turnover jumped to €68.5 million from €62.4 million while the cost of sales rose to €39 million from €35 million.

€2 million advertising campaign

Exceptional income of €3.16 million was recorded, representing the value of the investment in subsidiaries that were liquidated during the year.

The retailer, which embarked on a €2 million advertising campaign in Ireland in the latter half of 2015, said it had helped increase awareness and improve trade with significant growth recorded with its home and living and sportswear segments last year.

In addition to its advertising campaign, it also sponsored RTÉ’s coverage of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest coverage in a deal worth €40,000.

Gross margin percentage decreased 1.6 in fiscal 2016 from the prior financial year to 42.5 per cent with gross profits rising 5.8 per cent, from €27.5 million to €29.1 million.

The company said overheads increased slightly from €24.9 million to €25.8 million. As percentage of turnover, this is an improvement of 2.1 points to 37.8 per cent.

Dividends

The directors paid out a final dividend of €3.67 per share amounting to €103,303. This compares to a dividend of €5.11 per share amounting to €143,75 a year earlier.

Littlewoods, which employs 23 people locally, had staff costs of €1.65 million, up from €1.37 million in the previous year.

The group’s ultimate parent Shop Direct, which owns both the Littlewoods and Very brands in the UK, is owned by billionaire brothers Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, who were famously embroiled in a battle with Irish property developer Paddy McKillen for control of the world-famous Claridge’s, Berkeley and Connaught hotels.