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Arnotts reverses sales and EBITDA declines

Troubled Dublin department store Arnotts said that it expected sales to have bounced back in 2010 after a dramatic fall off in turnover the previous year.

The luxury department store on Henry Street said that the first steps towards refinancing and refocusing Arnotts after a challenging 2009 had been completed and that sales and profits were on an upward trajectory.

Turnover on continuing operations in the year to the end of Janaury 2009 declined by 25% to €120.7m (£102.5m). EBITDA was €100,000 (£84,900) during the year, down from €2.5m (£2.12m) in 2008.  

Operating losses on continuing operations widened from €1.1m (£934,900) to €9.2m (£7.8m) and included a property write down of €248.6m (£211.3m) following the deferral of the Northern Quarter development and the downturn in the Republic of Ireland. Losses after tax were €295.1m (£250.1m).

However, the department store, which was taken over by its banks Ulster Bank Ireland and Anglo Irish Bank in August last year and granted a €10m (£8.5m) working capital facility, said that cost saving initiatives and stricter stock control had reversed the decline in 2010.

Turnover in the current year ending January 23 was forecast to have increased by a single digit figure, with EBITDA up as a result of the restructuring of the business.

Sales in the 2010 year increased by double digits in cosmetics, womenswear and accessories. The business introduced new brands including Lauren by Ralph Lauren, Reiss, Jaeger, NW3, Aquascutum, Marc Cain, Paige and LK Bennett.

Arnotts chairman Mark Schwartz said: “Just over a year ago Arnotts was in a perilous state but through a combination of hard work, the commitment of our team, and some tough decisions the business has been stabilised and secured. We have earned the support and confidence of our banks and vendors. An important change in focus has been achieved that will be the basis for a strong future built around the company’s retail strengths”

Arnotts chief executive Nigel Blow added:“Arnotts is an iconic Irish business in a location that is second to none.  We have an incredibly passionate work-force that understands and cares about Arnotts value as a retail brand.  Our strong performance in 2010 is evidence that we have weathered the adverse consequences of a deteriorating economy and have positioned ourselves to grow and gain market share as the Irish economy improves.”

For more details see Drapers magazine and Drapersonline.com on Friday.

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