Smyths Toys now the most successful Irish retailer abroad

Family-owned Irish group is profitable in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Austria and Switzerland

 The Smyths store in Carrickmines, Dublin. The group  has completely conquered the British market, opening more than 100 large retail outlets there in a little over a decade

The Smyths store in Carrickmines, Dublin. The group has completely conquered the British market, opening more than 100 large retail outlets there in a little over a decade

 

The filing of its accounts confirmed last week that Smyths Toys is already making a financial return on its deal last year to acquire the central European operations of Toys R Us.

The family-owned group is now – individually and collectively – profitable in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. That surely makes Smyths the most successful ever Irish retailer abroad.

The two biggest indigenous Irish grocers, Dunnes Stores and Musgrave, are larger, more storied, family-owned operations than Smyths. Yet the toy retailer has succeeded abroad where they have failed.

Dunnes and Musgrave both have operations in Spain, but in recent years both effectively abandoned their forays into Britain.

Smyths, meanwhile, has completely conquered the British market, opening more than 100 large retail outlets there in a little over a decade, vanquishing its specialist rivals. Its UK sales are now about €675 million.

Its prospects for maintaining growth in Britain are likely to slow as Brexit keeps sterling weakened, and Smyths runs out of unserviced locations to open new stores. As it already dominates the specialist Irish toys market, Smyths’ most obvious avenue for further growth became Europe.

The global insolvency last year of Toys R Us provided Smyths with a golden opportunity to buy out of bankruptcy the German-Swiss-Austrian stores of its US rival. The accounts filed last Friday show it paid less than €62 million to gain control of more than 90 outlets, which made Smyths profits of almost €14 million in 2018.

As it fine tunes them to better fit its sophisticated big box retailing model, their financial contribution may improve further.

The wider Smyths group is now on course for annual sales of close to €1.4 billion. Despite the success of its foreign forays, the group still made an annual profit of just €36 million.

With margins of less than 3 per cent, Smyths may be tempted to expand its footprint even further if it wants to keep growing profits in years to come.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.