By Gordon Deegan
Sales of Lego, superhero toys and Shopkins helped family-owned Irish toy-seller Smyths to record revenues of over half a billion euro in its expanding UK operations.
New figures show the Galway-headquartered firm enjoyed strong growth in 2017 in the UK as sales surged by 11% going from £404m to a record £475.7m (€534.5m).
The firm’s pre-tax profits increased by 18% to £11.88m.
The firm only entered the UK market in 2007 and its business has grown exponentially there since then.
The continuing expansion of the company is in stark contrast to the international collapse of Toys “R” Us and earlier this year, Smyth’s Toys purchased the Toys “R” Us business in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
The €79m deal adds a further 90 stores to the Smyth’s Toys group and brings to around 200 outlets in Ireland, UK and Europe.
On the UK performance in 2017, the directors state they are “very pleased with the increase in profit particularly given the current economic climate and the increased competition in the marketplace”.
The directors state that sales “were driven by growth in both existing UK stores and also the 12 new stores opened during the year”.
On the group’s future developments, the directors state that “further expansion will occur in the UK market in the coming years through the opening of new stores”.
Underling its expansion in the UK, the company last year spent £20.66m on the purchase of property and this followed a spend of £20.5m under the same heading in 2016.
The firm is Ireland’s largest toy retailer and the extent of its profits and revenues here are not available as the firm has unlimited status in Ireland.
Numbers employed by the UK arm last year increased from 1,888 to 2,195 with staff costs increasing from £28.27m to £33.47m.
The business is led by the four low-profile Smyth brothers, Anthony, Liam, Patrick and Thomas.
In the Republic, Smyth’s operates 21 stories comprising of six stores in Dublin, two in Limerick and Cork and individual superstore outlets in Navan, Galway, Tralee, Naas, Dundalk, Drogheda, Claremorris, Sligo, Waterford, Athlone and Letterkenny.