Dunnes Stores’ business in Northern Ireland returned to profit in 2021 after posting a loss the previous year.
Dunnes Stores Bangor, the main entity behind the retail giant’s 15 stores in Northern Ireland, said after-tax profits soared to nearly £5.3million (€5.9million). ) in 2021, compared to a loss of £8million in 2020. The family business generated sales of £118.8million in the year to the end of Christmas 2021, compared to £101.8million pounds sterling the previous business year.
In a note to the accounts, director Dr Anne Heffernan said the group’s “philosophy boils down to ‘better value'” and acknowledged that all of its stakeholders are working hard to achieve this.
In a separate note, the directors said the retail market remains “very competitive” and the main risk facing the Dunnes Stores Group is “trading in the current economic climate”.
“The group’s performance is influenced by normal supply, demand factors and competition,” the directors said, adding that its balance sheet remains “strong with strong cash flow and no external funding.” Administrators said they have “a reasonable expectation” that the group has sufficient resources to continue operating for the foreseeable future.
The accounts offer a rare glimpse under the hood of the Dunnes Stores Group, which is registered with the Republic Companies Registry as an unlimited liability company, meaning it is not required to file accounts accessible to the public. The Northern Irish entity was also responsible for the group’s outlets in Britain, which were closed in 2018.
However, in a note to the accounts, the administrators said that Dunnes Stores Bangor has now been re-registered as an unlimited company in the UK, meaning its accounts will no longer be available for public scrutiny in the future.
The Northern Irish company’s cumulative profits topped £45m at the end of financial year 2021 and its cash flow rose 30% from 2020 to £38m.
The group employed 987 people at the end of 2021, compared to 1,034 in 2020. although payroll costs remained essentially static year on year at £14.9 million, including salaries, social protection and pension costs.
Dunnes Stores Bangor owed creditors £53million at the end of last year, almost 70% of which was owed to other Dunnes Group companies.
The company paid a paltry £2,000 interim dividend to other group companies last year after refusing to pay out at all in 2020. Dividends have fallen in recent years, with just £120,000 paid in 2019, against just under half a million the previous year.
The directors were not paid by the Northern Irish entity in 2021, with the accounts noting that these costs are borne by another group company.