Profits at jewellery chain Beaverbrooks fall by a third

Mark Adlestone and Anna Blackburn

Annual profits at St Annes-based national jewellery retailer, Beaverbrooks, have fallen by a third.

This was despite the family-owned group enjoying record turnover for the year ended February 2023.

In its most recent figures, Beaverbrooks revealed sales rose by 11.4%, to £225m during the reporting period.

However, pre-tax profits dropped from £21.582m in 2022, to £13.871m for the most recent financial year.

The business said this was due to high levels of investment in the group during the period that saw its headcount increase by 10% to 1,165.

It revealed that, during the the fiscal year, it invested more than £14.5m in its stores and IT infrastructure, including the unveiling of four new dedicated luxury Swiss watch boutiques in the key locations of Cambridge, Norwich, Glasgow and the West Midlands.

Beaverbrooks added that this investment was possible, despite the effects of the cost of living crisis and uncertain economic times continuing to impact the group.

The 104-year-old business also made charitable donations of more than £2.57m from its profits.

And it revealed that its strong performance against a difficult backdrop has continued into this year as turnover at the halfway point of its current financial year – March 2023 to August 2023 – is also up 3.1% at more than £107.2m.

As future-proofing the business and protecting jobs continues to take precedence for the retailer, gross profit margin reduced to 17.1% from 21.6% as it prioritised investment in its estate, people and charity across the financial year. This included the continuation of performance bonuses, cost-of-living support and pay rises for teams.

Investment in stores and infrastructure has also continued to be a priority in the current financial year, with more than £7m being spent on estate expansion to date, taking the total number of stores and watch boutiques to 85.

This has included four store refits and dedicated luxury watch boutique openings in York, Leeds, Derby and Reading.

Anna Blackburn, managing director of Beaverbrooks who is celebrating 10 years since becoming the first female, non-family member to lead the business, said: “We are so proud of our people who have worked hard to achieve such amazing success. Without their commitment to providing exceptional levels of customer service, we would not have been able to make the same level of investment into our people and estate that we did last year.

“We also want to thank our customers for their continued loyalty through these difficult times and continue to be committed to providing the best value, choice, quality and expertise when they are making special purchases for their engagements, weddings and gifting needs.”

She added: “In my 10 years leading Beaverbrooks and 25 years in total working here, I have learned an immense amount about listening to our people, planning and remaining agile with strategy as the retail landscape changes and faces difficulties. Another year of strong financial success demonstrates that treating people well makes business sense and adds value to the bottom line.

“We look forward to continuing to use this success to put profit back into our teams and estate to provide the best service for our customers.”

Beaverbrooks chairman, Mark Adlestone, said: “As a family-owned business, enriching lives and making positive changes to the world is in our DNA, and this is reflected in every decision we make as a company.

“By staying true to our values, we have been able to deliver financial success and invest in our people and our infrastructure. We are able to protect jobs during uncertain times and ensure we are paying our people fairly as well as paying bonuses to colleagues who are performing to a high standard. It has also meant we have been able to donate over £2.57m to charities at a time when it is needed most.”