Bookshop in red despite ‘Fifty Shades’

Sales of publishing phenomenon EL James’s Fifty Shades of Grey were not enough to prevent one of Ireland’s largest independent booksellers from going into the red last year.

New figures returned by O’Mahony’s Booksellers Ltd show that the firm recorded a pre-tax loss last year of €169,184 after a pre-tax profit of €23,077 in fiscal 2012.

O’Mahony’s operates four bookstores in the midwest and south-west. It recorded the loss after its gross profit declined from €3.23m to €3.12m in the 12 months to the end of February 28, 2013.

However, O’Mahony’s company director Frank O’Mahony said yesterday: “Fifty Shades sold a hell of a lot of books in Ireland, but the sale of one book won’t make a difference whether you make a profit or loss.”

The firm has its flagship store on Limerick’s O’Connell St and Mr O’Mahony said: “There are more people walking around the suburbs of Dublin than there is around the streets of Limerick city centre.

“Until that situation is fully and urgently addressed, all retail businesses in the city centre are under threat. There is not enough at the moment to attract people into the city centre.”

Mr O’Mahony said that, in the year under review, “we performed better than our peers and our turnover held up reasonably well”.

The numbers employed by the firm last year remained static at 76 with employment costs increasing from €2.09m to €2.17m.

Directors’ remuneration to Frank and David O’Mahony fell from €353,520 to €323,839. The firm paid Frank O’Mahony €276,600 during the year in rent for the use of its O’Connell St, Limerick.

Accumulated profits reduced from €363,362 to €200,445. The firm’s cash pile last year reduced from €449,098 to €26,047.

The firm recorded an operating loss of €141,477 following an operating profit of €51,794 in 2012.

Net interest payments of €10,907 increased the firm’s losses.

Administrative expenses increased from €3.18m to €3.26m.


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