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Office directors pocket £61m as profits double

Footwear chain Office doubled its operating profit to £56.9m for the year to January 25, while its directors, including chief executive Brian McCluskey, pocketed £61.3m.

Turnover at the business increased 5.5% to £270.2m for the year, while like-for-like sales were up 1.2%. Sales from the UK and Europe were up 4.8% and 22% respectively, but fell 11% in the rest of the world.

EBITDA before exceptional items increased 15% year-on-year to £38.1m. During the year Office recovered VAT of £25.2m from HMRC.

The firm’s three directors for the year - McClusky, chief financial officer Emily Tate and former CFO Ian Findlay - were paid an interim dividend of £61.3m, following no payout in 2014.  Tate was appointed in August 2014, a month after Findlay resigned.

Office said gross margins improved to 49.8% from 47.9% in 2014 “despite cost input pressures”.

The firm said it was “a year of investment” in improving the website design and functionality, the launch of a new mobile site and better delivery options for shoppers.

During the year, nine new shops opened and two were relocated. Two of the new shops were in New Bonn and Hamburg, bringing Office’s total in Germany to four.

Office had 110 stores and 46 concessions in the UK, Ireland and Germany at the end of the period, compared to 101 stores and 54 concessions in 2014. Its fascias are Office, Offspring, Poste and Poste Mistress. The concessions are through House of Fraser, Selfridges, Topshop and Topman.

McClusky said: “The market over the year ahead is expected to remain highly competitive however consumer confidence continues to grow.

“Despite the competitive market, as a well-funded and cash generative business, Office intends to expand its integrated multichannel business through growth in ecommerce and new stores in the UK and internationally. We are confident Office is in a strong position to grow and invest for the future and in the group’s prospects for the current financial year.”

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