Argento overcomes ‘difficult’ market conditions to register £1m profit

Peter Boyle, chief executive officer, Argento Contemporary Jewellery

Northern Ireland-based Argento Contemporary Jewellery has reported another profitable year in business despite facing what it calls “difficult ongoing market conditions”.

Overall profits at the firm increased from £1.22m to £1.29m for the 12 months to 30 June 2016, according to accounts filed at Companies House this week.

The rise in profits came in spite of a decrease in turnover from £21.6m to £18.4m, which the company said was due to the transfer of four stores to a separate company during the year.

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Despite the £3m fall in sales, directors noted in the report that gross profit percentage increased 4% to 55.8% year-on-year.

“As regards for future developments, the directors intend to continue to expand the company’s services and customer base, thereby increasing turnover and profitability,” the company said in its review of the performance.

Although it alluded to challenging market conditions, Argento said that the industry was “performing well and appears strong” based on the consistent increase in individual store turnover year-on-year.

This is the group’s 20th year of trading.

Professional Jeweller reported in January that Argento’s sales had increased 50% following its nationwide £5m refit of its stores.

The multibrand jewellery retailer also saw almost 25% growth in January alone on its e-commerce site as it began to export more.

Speaking to Professional Jeweller, CEO Peter Boyle expressed a desire to secure “three or four” more Argento sites around the UK this year.

Boyle said: “We’re in the process now of deciding whether we go forward and open more stores. We’re evaluating the number of sites and we’ve done a few testers where we’re reasonably happy with the results.

“We will look at trying to cluster stores in other areas, if we can. But the difference in England and Scotland is that the retail rents are so dramatically higher than in Northern Ireland, more than double, so our model might not add up in every space.”

Image: Peter Boyle, chief executive officer, Argento Contemporary Jewellery

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