Holland & Barrett expansion costs eat into profits

By Gordon Deegan

Expansion costs at the Irish arm of British health supplements retailer Holland & Barrett meant profits dropped 31% to €3.79m last year.

The retailer opened two more stores increasing its outlets in Ireland to 54 and revenues increased 3% to €35.1m in the year to the end of September

The directors said the level of business and its finances remain satisfactory but said they continued to monitor costs and the euro-sterling exchange rate.

Holland & Barrett sells vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements in 620 stores in Ireland and the UK.

The group last August was purchased by LetterOne, controlled by Russian tycoon, Mikhail Fridman for over €1.9bn.

The Irish operation also opened a new warehousing facility in Dublin for its outlets in Ireland and the North. Its earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortisation came to €4.92m, down from €6.3m in the previous year.

It spent €5m on leases, little changed on the year. Staff numbers increased from 277 to 294, and staff costs rose from €6.59m to €7.76m.

The company’s cashpile increased from €1.88m to €5m. The accounts show that the firm recorded a gross profit of €22.2m after incurring cost of sales amounting to €12.8m.

Distribution costs of €17.7m and administrative expenses of €781,000 resulted in an operating profit of €3.7m. After paying €556,000 in corporation tax, it posted a net profit of €3.2m

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