N Ireland's Menarys grows sales, shifts from concessions in evolving market

today Oct 25, 2019
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Privately-owned department store chain Menarys continues to grow sales at its Northern Ireland-based business, and announced it's shifting its operation away from a concession-based model, reports said Friday.

Concessions like this one from Warehouse remain a feature of the Menarys offer but it's reducing its reliance on them in favour of own-bought goods - Menarys

Sales have grown to £19.5m, up from £18.4m, for the year to January 2019, according to the latest accounts filed. However, pre-tax profits for the period fell to £340,000 from £418,803 in the year-ago period.

The Menarys revenue recovery continues after a difficult number of years which resulted in store closures and debt restructuring for the business that entered into a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) in 2014.

Highlights for the year included a quadrupling in revenue from online sales on Black Friday 2018, which it said was largely down to improvements to its website. 

The department store chain also opened three new stores between last November and March this year following six years of continual performance improvements. The new stores, in Enniskillen, Ballymena and Templepatrick, are all stocked with ‘own-bought’ products, which it’s increasingly sourcing from China.

Managing director Stephen McCammon said uncertainty within fashion retail has prompted a shift in the company’s strategy in favour of sourcing its own products.

“There has been a shift over the last number of years where a lot of the concession brands we have partnered with have struggled and we’ve then found ourselves having to find alternative uses for the space,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.

“There’s no doubt our strategy is to continually grow the own-bought part of the business at the expense of maybe contracting the concession part of the business.

He said the preference for own-bought products is about giving the business more control. “It has shown us a different model and I guess in time that is something that we would look to pursue,” he added.

“We’re growing things like our cook shops, gifts areas, accessories, home furnishing and footwear. That has allowed us to focus on value.”

He also said the company has focused on making its operation more “lean”.

“Week in and week out you are seeing retailers effectively fail,” he said. “So we’ve got to make sure we’re ahead of any curve that the economy brings and make sure we’re as efficient as we can possibly be, whether that’s in branches or at our head office.”

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