Pettitt group sales top €120m as consumer spending rebounds
Southeast-based family-owned group eyeing further growth in hotel, supermarket business
Cormac Pettitt managing director of the Pettitt group, pictured at the company-owned Talbot Hotel, in Wexford. Photograph: Patrick Browne
The family-owned Pettitt group of hotels and supermarkets, which is one of the largest employers in the southeast, is eyeing further growth after chalking up a 6 per cent rise in revenues last year to €120.5 million.
The diversified group, which is now run by Cormac Pettitt, grandson of the original founder, recorded growth across its six supermarkets, five hotels, three pubs, farming and other property interests.
Most of the Pettitt empire is located around Co Wexford, including its flagship Talbot Hotel on the Wexford quays, and two Supervalu supermarkets. It also owns hotels in Cork, Carlow and the Stillorgan Park Hotel in Dublin.
Recently filed 2015 accounts for Torski, the group holding company, show the Pettitt group now employs close to 1,000 staff, after boosting employment numbers by about 5 per cent over the year.
Profits at the group rose by about 50 per cent to €3.1 million. The family group, which has bank loans of about €22 million, sits on profit reserves of about €57 million. It is understood that revenue growth in 2016 accelerated over 2015.
The group’s supermarkets, including two in Wexford town, and outlets in Gorey, Enniscorthy, Arklow and Athy, generated three-quarters of total revenues. Grocery sales increased marginally over the year, as fierce competition kept a lid on the sector’s growth.
As well as the Stillorgan Park and the Talbot, the Pettitt group also owns the Midleton Park and Oriel House hotels in and around Cork, and the Talbot in Carlow. Sales in the division were up 17 per cent in 2015, the first full year of ownership of the two Cork properties, for which the group paid €12 million in 2014.
Growth at the family’s 500-bed hotels division is likely to have accelerated in 2016, a record year for Irish tourism.
It bought the scheme out of receivership after it had sat empty and unfinished for almost a decade from the tail-end of the boom.
The family’s Sleedagh Farms agri-business, which supplies meats to several of the supermarkets, breached the €1 million sales barrier last year.
Des Pettitt, one of the best-known business figures in Wexford who built up the group, now operates as group chairman.
His son, 37-year-old chartered accountant Cormac, is managing director of the group. Des’s wife Bernadette is the third director of Torski.
The accounts show that the group’s directors shared €1.2 million last year. The highest-paid director, who is not identified, was paid almost €750,000.