- Angela Gonzalez-Rodriguez |
Irish retailer Menarys has reported its first pre-tax profit for the first time in four years. For the year to 31 January 2016, Menarys Retail reported turnover of 20.6 million pounds compared to 21 million pounds the previous 12 months.
The slight drop in turnover hasn´t tarnished the company´s spirits as Menarys has moved back into the black with a pre-tax profit of 162,479 pounds compared to the previous year’s loss of 910,939 pounds.
Looking ahead, the Irish retailer, founded in 1923, has set its sights on sustaining its performance into 2017.
In 2014, Menarys entered into a creditors voluntary arrangement (CVA), highlights the ‘Irish Times’. In its newly-filed accounts, the retailer said it "realised a significant beneficial impact" from the successful conclusion of this CVA in July of the same year. "The continued progress being made saw a return to net profit in January 2016 and an improvement in this position is forecast with a further net profit in January 2017," the fashion company further added in a statement issued earlier this month.
During the year under review, Menarys also completed a refinancing deal and a debt for equity swap. "This refinancing restructured the balance sheet of the company by decreasing the external bank debt exposure and reducing related party recoverables," the retailer’s director explained in a call with local media.
"The directors aim to maintain and improve upon the positive impact of the repositioning of the Menarys Retail brand, to increase own bought merchandise as a percentage of overall own bought and concessions merchandise, and to continue to aggressively target cost reduction measures," he added.
"We had a tough time and the last couple of years have been very important for us in terms of restructuring bank debt and improving our trading performance," said director Stephen McCammon. He praised his team’s work, pointing out that "The team have worked hard and now we're back on track. We always believed that we could turn it around and it's a credit to our staff who really helped us to get here."
Menarys back on track after refinancing deal bears its first fruits
Last year saw the closure of stores in Portadown and Dublin and a reduction in staff numbers, down from 361 to 338. "We decided to close two loss-making stores as part of the CVA and that was very difficult because of the people involved," McCammon explained in an interview with the ‘Belfast Telegraph’.
"Primarily, the reason for closure was because of the rents: we could not get them reduced and we were left with no other option. When we reached that point we had done all that we could and closure was for the greater good of the business."
Menarys, established in Dungannon 1923 by Mr McCammon's great-great uncle, now has 17 stores in towns across Northern Ireland, two cross-border outlets, in Carrick-on-Shannon and Letterkenny.
The chain specialises in fashion, beauty and household goods, and its outlets feature in-store concessions including Topshop, Oasis, Wallis and Dorothy Perkins. Unlike some major rivals, it has a very small online presence, but there are plans for web retailing.
Following rapid expansion in the 1980s and 90s, the retailer launched its sister company Tempest in 2000 to provide a stronger fashion offering to its younger customers. Menarys Retail Ltd now operates 17 Menarys and Tempest stores – 15 in Northern Ireland and two in the Republic of Ireland – and employs more than 340 members of staff.
"We're starting to look at growth again," assured McCammon to the ‘Irish Telegraph’. "We've been experimenting with an online bridal list service and we anticipate that we will go down that road in the not too distant future.
"The high street is still very important to us and even in towns where there's a lot of vacant retail space, our stores are still trading well. We like to see ourselves as local retail champions."