Record financial performance creates strong foothold for national jeweller

Anna Blackburn and Mark Adlestone

Beaverbrooks, the Lytham St Annes-based jewellers, has released its latest accounts showing another successful year for the family-owned national retailer.

For the full year to February 29, 2020, group turnover increased 12.4% to £143.2m, compared with last year, with group operating profit for continuing operations before discretionary payments at £17.8m, against £13m previously.

During the same period, gross profit margins increased to 18.4%, up from 16.4% last year, due to careful management of costs across the business. As a result, 2019 was the biggest year in Beaverbrooks’ 101-year history, achieving, in aggregate, the six most profitable years in its history.

The 2020 plan for the business was to celebrate and build on this success, but Beaverbrooks barely had time to do either before the global pandemic hit in Spring.

Despite this, the retailer is expecting to retain strong levels of profit in 2020 and has seen a strong recovery after lockdown with sales up 12.2% year-on-year from August to October.

The company puts this down to its ability to adapt to the changing landscape, alongside its people-centric approach to business.

As part of its mission to ‘enrich lives,’ Beaverbrooks donates 20% of retained profits to charity and, despite the challenges 2020 has presented, a total of £1.78m has been donated to charity in the financial year from both the company and the Beaverbrooks Charitable Trust.

Since the year 2000, the company has donated in excess of £15m to more than 750 charities.

Chairman, Mark Adlestone, said: “We’ve just had the six most profitable years in our history, which we’re delighted with, and without doubt provided a strong financial footing as we entered 2020.

“Last year was an important year for us as we celebrated our centenary, so to reach this milestone and achieve the many accolades awarded to the company during this period, is fantastic.

“We are immensely proud of what we achieved as a business in 2019/20, however, no-one could have predicted we would be facing a global pandemic in 2020, and the challenges this would bring for the sector as a whole.

“By respecting our heritage and values, staying true to our purpose, and adapting to the continually changing landscape, we’re seeing continued growth this year, so we’re optimistic about what the future will bring.”

Anna Blackburn, managing director, said: “There is no doubt that our last financial year, the best in the company’s history, provided us with a strong foothold to get through 2020 and beyond.

“Despite the challenges we’ve faced this year, we’ve experienced positive trading across both stores and online which has put us in a strong position as we approach Q4. This demonstrates that business agility and continued investment in people and product can deliver sustained success.

She added: “At the beginning of the pandemic we knew that the way we responded would define our next chapter – we had to be strategic in our approach instead of making knee jerk reactions.

“Our people-centric ethos has been absolutely vital for us, now more than ever before. Throughout the pandemic we’ve ensured all of our colleagues felt engaged with our business decisions and direction, and this level of engagement is now paying into the bottom line.”

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