Ballooning of losses in the Northern Irish business of Dunnes Stores

Losses rocketed at the Northern Irish branch of Dunnes Stores last year as the retail giant adapted to the impact of Covid-19, newly filed accounts show.

The retailer, which has 15 stores in the North, recorded a pre-tax loss of £8.1m (9.6m) for 2020, compared to a loss of £1.03m (1 .23 million euros) the previous year.

No explanation was offered by Dunnes’ directors in the year’s accounts, which have just been filed, for the increased losses although they said they were monitoring the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. coronavirus on the business, as well as a risk to trade from supply and demand factors.

The company has previously expressed concern about the financial impact of the pandemic on its business.

In comments to its prior year accounts, which were approved in October 2020 amid the pandemic, the company said: “Covid-19 is having a significant impact on our business operations and we are incurring additional costs important for the implementation of social networks. distancing measures in our retail stores.

However, the directors said that as the group was not dependent on external funding and had a strong balance sheet and strong cash flow, they had a “reasonable expectation” that it would have adequate resources for the foreseeable future.

No dividend

The company has decided not to pay any dividends to other group companies in 2020. Dividends have fallen in recent years, with just £120,000 (€143,000) paid in 2019, compared to just under half a million l ‘last year. However, despite reporting losses in four of the past five years, this is the first time in that period that no dividend has been paid.

The company recorded a foreign exchange loss of £2.87 million (€3.42 million) in 2020, compared to a loss of £1.4 million (€1.67 million) a year earlier. It also recorded a loss of £950,000 (€1.13 million) related to the disposal of an investment property.

Dunnes Stores is one of Ireland’s largest department store chains, selling food, homewares, clothing and other goods. Key parts of those businesses, including its supermarkets, remained open during lockdowns imposed in a bid to contain the disease last year.

Dunnes Stores (Bangor) Ltd is a subsidiary of Dunnes Holding Company Unlimited, which is not required to file accounts. UK figures are the only ones available to give an overview of the group’s financial performance.

Apart from the stores in the North, he was also responsible for the group’s outlets in Great Britain, which were closed in 2018.

Sales at the Northern Ireland subsidiary fell 11% in the 12 months to December 26, 2020, to £101.7m (€121.1m). This follows a nearly 6% increase in revenue a year earlier.

The company employed just over 1,000 people in 2020 with personnel costs, including wages and salaries, totaling £14.9m (€17.7m).