Monday, January 10, 2011

Retail chain posts loss of over €6m - The Irish Times - Mon, Jan 10, 2011

The Irish Times - Monday, January 10, 2011

Retail chain posts loss of over €6m


FASHION RETAILER A|wear reported a €6.2 million loss in the year ended January 2010, compared with pretax profits of €25.9 million the previous year.

The sharp reversal in fortune of the Irish fashion chain was attributable to falling sales and demand, according to accounts just filed at the Companies Office.

While the pretax profit for 2009 was attributable to the sale of a property to another group company for €16.9 million during that year, operating profits also dropped significantly last year.

The company posted an operating loss of €6.2 million in the 12 months to the end of January 2010, compared with operating profits of €4.8 million the previous year.

Revenue at the high-street retailer fell by just under 30 per cent in the year to €39.5 million, compared to just over €56 million the previous year.

“The loss for the year reflects difficult trading conditions,” the accounts state, pointing out that the risks and uncertainties facing the business “are those typical of those in the retail sector, with decreased demand in the market place being a principal factor.”

It adds that the company expects to make a profit in the year ended January 2011.

A|wear, which celebrated its 25th birthday last year, was founded by Galen Weston in Limerick in 1985. In 2007 it was sold by Brown Thomas in a deal worth some €70 million. London investment house Alchemy Partners owns about 80 per cent of A|wear’s parent company, with A|wear’s directors, including chief executive Annmarie Flood, owning the remaining 20 per cent.

Last year the retailer opened its 40th store in Kilkenny.

As was the case in 2009, no dividends to shareholders were paid in the year ended January 2010. A payment of €18.8 million was made in the previous year.

Amounts due from group companies during the year were €32.5 million, up from €27.7 million the previous year.

The company employed 377 people during the period, up slightly from 369 the previous year. Payroll costs for the year amounted to €8.3 million.

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