Stationer Staples UK has bounced back into the black, posting a pre-tax profit of £6.2m compared with a loss of £8.6m the year before.
In documents filed at Companies House, the retailer said profit growth was driven by a “continued reduction in the underlying cost base and prior year foreign exchange losses”.
Staples grew gross margin 2.9% to 44.4% as a result of “further global and European purchasing leverage, an increase in own-brand penetration and a strong focus on operational initiatives”.
However, turnover declined from £353m to £339m in the year to January 30. Staples blamed the fall in revenue on “continued price competition and a shrinking market in parts of the technology sector”.
It added: “The directors are pleased with the results and are committed to enhancing the customer experience, improving in-store and back office operations and continuing rigid cost management.
“Additional integration across the different Staples sectors in the UK and Europe will also help to deliver improved margins and profitability through the use of wider purchasing leverage, cost synergies and increased brand awareness.”
A Staples spokeswoman said the retailer had benefited from its revamped reward card as well as a focus on localised offers. She added that Staples is investing in store revamps, focusing on an improved layout and new signage. “We’re bringing them up to date,” she said.
Staples opened a store in Tunbridge Wells since year end and will open another in Hove on October 30, taking its store count to 139.
The spokeswoman said Staples had benefited from the trend of customers working from home and from small businesses, which took advantage of its copy and print service and its late opening hours.