THE heat may be gone from the economy but not from the bedroom, if profits at Ann Summers stores are anything to go by.
Cash-strapped couples are swapping nights on the town for sexy evenings in as sales of lingerie and sex toys soar.
And usage of internet pornography is three times the level in pre-recession times. That rise is being attributed to the numbers of people laid off who are now home during the day with nothing to do.
Profits at Ann Summers Irish stores jumped 20% last year. Pre-tax profits increased to e458,154 in the year to June 2008 compared with e376,597 a year earlier. The profit rise saw turnover shoot to e3.2 million from e3m a year earlier.
Ann Summers has stores on O’Connell Street in Dublin and Princes Street in Cork. It opened its first Irish shop amid much controversy in 1999 and the Cork shop in 2004.
Ann Summers is run by Jacqueline Gold, one of Britain’s most successful businesswomen.
The 48-year-old took over control of the retail business from her father in 1987, having started the home parties in 1981.
Under Ms Gold the company has been a runaway success with turnover approaching e200m and the brand extending to 150 shops worldwide.
The company has also moved into mainstream retailing with the acquisition of Knickerbox in 2000.
According to accounts filed in Britain for the company Ms Gold enjoyed a 70% pay rise to £363,687 (e407,503) last year.
Her salary increase came as turnover at its 128 British stores for the year to end-June 2008 rose 8% to £121m (e135mx) but pretax profits fell 4.6% to £6.55m (e7.33m).
The accounts also showed Ms Gold’s father and Ann Summers co-founder Ralph pocketed a £56.5m (e63.2m) dividend as he sold his entire stake in the chain to his older brother.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved