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Brown Thomas posts profit hike

Irish department store group Brown Thomas recorded a 15% rise in operating profit to €23.1 million (£18.4m) for the year to January 31, but chief executive Nigel Blow warned that tougher times were ahead.

Sales across Brown Thomas’s four department stores and its three BT2 stores increased by 8.3% to €271.5m (£216.3m). Group pre-tax profit was €26.9m (£21.4m) compared with €24.1m (£19.2 m) the previous year.

Blow said: “The results reflect the combination of improved margins and tight cost control across the group.

Growth in turnover was also buoyed by the impact of maturing Special Savings Incentive Accounts and strong consumer confidence.”

However, Blow said the recent slide in consumer confidence, the impact of the credit crunch and the current economy had combined to create a more difficult retail environment.
He said: “While we have yet to trade the busiest period of our year, the group is not forecasting results in 2008 to be as strong as 2007. The focus is to continue to deliver the right product with excellent customer service while maintaining an aggressive focus on cost control across all areas.”

Blow added: “While it’s unrealistic to be optimistic about Christmas trading it’s important we remain positive and have some fun at the busiest time of the year.”

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