Losses at Dunnes Stores’ Northern Irish business balloon to £8.1 million
4 January 2022 | 0
Losses increased considerably at the Northern Irish arm of Dunnes Stores last year, with the business recording a £8.1 million (€9.6 million) pre-tax loss for 2020, as against a £1.03 million (€1.23 million) loss in the prior year.
The results were revealed in newly filed accounts although The Irish Times reports no explanation was provided by Dunnes’ director. However, they said they were monitoring the impact of the pandemic on the business which has 15 stores across Northern Ireland, alongside noting a risk to trading from supply and demand factors.
When signing off on the previous year’s accounts, the business noted in October 2020: “Covid-19 is having a material impact on the operations of our business and we are incurring significant additional costs implementing social distancing measures in our retail stores.”
However, directors added they had a “reasonable expectation” of adequate resources for the foreseeable future, given that the group was not reliant on external financing and had a robust balance sheet and strong cash flow.
Dunnes’ NI arm subsequently made the decision not to pay any dividend to other group undertakings in 2020.
The Irish Times reports dividends have been falling in recent years, with just £120,000 (€143,000) paid in 2019, down from just under half a million the previous year. Yet despite reporting losses in four of the past five years, this is the first time in that period that no dividend has been paid.
A foreign exchange loss of £2.87 million (€3.42 million) was recorded in 2020, up from a £1.4 million (€1.67 million) loss a year earlier. The group also incurred a £950,000 (€1.13 million) loss relating to the disposal of an investment property.
Dunnes Stores (Bangor) Ltd is a subsidiary of the unlimited Dunnes Holding Company, which is not obliged to file accounts.
Along with stores in the North, it was also responsible for the group’s outlets in Britain, which were closed in 2018.
Sales at the Northern Ireland subsidiary fell 11% in the 12 months to 26 December 2020, to £101.7 million (€121.1 million). A year earlier, the group achieved nearly a 6% rise in turnover.
In 2020, the company employed just more than 1,000 people and staff costs, including wages and salaries, totalled £14.9 million (€17.7 million).