Profits ahead at up-beat Liberty
Saturday 22 April 1995
Patrick Austin, chief executive, said like-for-like sales in the 22 UK branches were running 5 per cent ahead of last year with the Regent Street store doing even better. "Customers are showing a reluctance to spend freely but we have made a solid start this year. A lot still depends on Christmas and the winter sale period."
The new outlet at Heathrow's Terminal Three has exceeded the most optimistic forecasts and three more will be added this year, at Terminal One, Stratford- on-Avon and Fenchurch Street in London.
Costs at the Muji joint venture have been reduced and sales are improving. Three more Muji branches will open this year, taking the total to seven.
In the year to January the group saw pre-tax profits improve from £3.2m to £4.1m on sales up at £84m. Profits were boosted by £547,000 of exceptional items, including a £1.1m rate rebate and costs of £581,000 relating to the closure of the New York store.
After failing in the US the company is nervous about the export potential of the Liberty brand. "Tourists come to England and buy Liberty but they don't abroad. We've learnt by out mistakes."
Liberty's problem division remains the loss-making textiles business that has seen sales decline for six years in a row. The division was run by Oliver Stewart-Liberty, a descendant of the founding Liberty family, who stepped down earlier this month. Mr Austin says the division is responding to new management but will still lose money this year.
Liberty has been under pressure from some shareholders in the past few years to transform itself from a sleepy, family-run company, to a more dynamic retailer. Badgered by Brian Myerson, whose UK Active Value Fund is trying to force the Signet jewellery chain to sell off parts of the business, Liberty has appointed non-executive directors and enfranchised the shares. Mr Myerson still holds 15 per cent of Liberty's shares.
The full year dividend is maintained at 7.2p. The shares remained unchanged at 238p.
A cautionary tale for ambitious would-be authors
X Factor judge will appear in court later this month
- 1 Gurdwaras-turned-food banks: Sikh temples are catering for rise in Britain’s hungry
- 2 Council bans use of word ‘Commie’ – but ‘fascist’ and ‘Nazi’ are fine
- 3 The poorest pay the price for austerity: Workers face biggest fall in living standards since Victorian era
- 4 Newly vegan Beyoncé wears fox fur to dine in meat free restaurant
- 5 'I'm experiencing austerity as well', says Princess Michael of Kent
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£44000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Confide...
£25000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits : Harrington Starr: PHP Symfony2 Framewor...
£40000 - £55000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Harrington Starr: A leading pr...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Market Data An...