Retailer enjoys boom in Chinese shoppers despite challenging period.
Berry’s has announced its results for the year ended June 31 2012, outlining a £1 million decrease in company turnover but a £2 million reduction in overheads.
The Leeds-based business, which operates its retail and wholesale activities under Berens & Company Ltd, said it is now in “a strong position” to help achieve its future objectives.
The group’s turnover for the year fell from £31.8 million in 2011 to £30.7 million, owing to a challenging retail environment according to the documents filed at Companies House. Profit for the year after tax totalled £3.47 million, which was down on 2011’s profit figure of £3.73 million.
The directors stated that cost cutting had been a large part of the group’s activities in the year to June 31, 2012, with the aim of reducing overheads and cutting costs in all possible areas. Dividends were “significantly reduced” from £850,000 to £623,160. The group managed to cut overheads from £6.2 million to £6 million, owing to consistent monitoring by the directors, the accounts department and senior managers.
At the year-end Berens & Co’s net assets totalled £35.7 million, an increase of £2 million on 2011, something the company said it was “very pleased” about despite falls in the value of the group’s commercial properties and a drop in rent costs.
Profit margins remained consistent at 35.2%, trading for two consecutive years at that level due to tight control of discounts by store managers and close monitoring by senior management of weekly sales and purchases.
Berens & Co staff number totalled 110 across retail and wholesale operations at the year-end, covering 10 locations, including Leeds, Newcastle, Hull and Glasgow.
With a view to customer spend, Chinese shoppers – both tourists and students – are said to have become an important part of Berry’s business, owing to their appetite for luxury goods. It has invested in Union Pay and Tax Free services and has a separate Chinese language information page on its website, focused on watches and fine jewellery.
A statement from the directors said: “As for many businesses of our size, the business environment in which we operate continues to be challenging. The retail jewellery market in the UK is highly competitive and margins continue to be put under pressure.
“We face competition from the import market and in online sales. However, the group continues to believe in the high quality of the product available at Berens. Personal sales service and the strength of the Berry’s brand which is becoming increasingly well known. We are all of course subject to consumer spending patterns and consumers overall level of disposable incomes. This has been prevalent over the last two or three years, although we have still traded strongly and profitably during difficult times. The group is in a strong position and we remain optimistic that the group can continue to achieve its objectives.”