Berens & Company Ltd, the parent group of Leeds-based Berry’s and Owen & Robinson, has posted record sales and operating profits for the 2016-17 financial year that ended in June last year.
According to the latest accounts filed on Companies House, sales rose by a third from £38.8 million to £51.5 million, while operating profit soared by 41.3% to hit £7.5 million.
The group, which has nine stores outside of London, scooped Multiple Luxury Jewellery Retailer of the Year category at the 2017 PJ Awards, with suppliers voting for the family company to receive recognition for its successful business.
Despite not having Central London boutique, the company did benefit from high spending tourists in Leeds, Windsor and York. “The weakened pound made Britain an increasingly attractive tourist destination following Brexit, which contributed to record sales, particularly across outlets in tourist destinations,” Berry’s managing director Simon Walton says, adding: “Prestige watch sales were very strong across the group.”
While Berry’s has enjoying strong watch sales in recent years, its directors have vowed to focus on jewellery over the next 12 months, telling Professional Jeweller they are “jewellers fire and foremost.”
In accounts published at Companies House, Mr Walton says that the dramatic spike in operating profits was partly down to buying foreign currency before Brexit crashed the pound. “The increase in gross profit margin is the result of the benefit achieved through the advance purchase of euros and dollars,” he reveals.
A marginal shift in product mix toward jewellery also resulted in a small improvement in margins, Mr Walton adds.
Online sales increased in the financial year, and now account for 3.6% of the group’s turnover.
Looking ahead, the company will be paying particularly attention to the Berry’s brand – strengthening its identity as a jeweller and an agent of the most sought-after watch brands
While it can be hard to balance the watch and jewellery sides of the business – especially when watch brands demand more in-store space – the directors at Berry’s are expanding their stores to accommodate brand demands and showcase its unique fine jewellery designs.
A major investment is the re-development of Berry’s flagship store on Albion Street in Leeds. £200,000 was invested in the first phase of this work in the 2016-17 financial year, but the expansion and renovation is continuing into 2018, with the company hoping to open its doors in April.