Homewares specialist Lakeland’s pre-tax profits slipped to £7.2m in 2011 from £10.7m the previous year, although sales advanced.
Turnover rose from £147.9m to £151.3m over the year. The figures followed warnings from Lakeland director Julian Rayner that trading conditions in August and September 2011 were “tough, hard and miserable”.
Rayner said the 2012 has started well but that spend had slowed during the Olympic period. He added that extended opening hours had been a “waste of time” and that the retailer had been “forced” into it by shopping centre owners. “It increased costs for no benefit.”
He remains “optimistic” about Christmas as he had already seen good sales of seasonal ranges.
The retailer added six new stores in Bridgemere, Hereford, Newbury, Stapleton, Stratford City and Watford over 2011. Capital expenditure was £7.8m as a result of the new openings and refurbishments. Gross margin remained flat.
It has opened two stores in the Metro Centre and Brighton so far this year, and a third shop is due to open in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland in the next couple of weeks. A further four openings are planned for 2013. It has also opened a new store in Kuwait and is planning three more openings in the Middle East next year.
Online sales continue to perform well for the retailer, although sales are now split 60/40 in favour of stores. It launched Click and Collect and a mobile app at the start of 2012. It has already launched the content-driven Lakeland Magazine, which include recipes as well as promoting seasonal ranges, which is available through the iTune app store. The first edition, launched in spring, attracted 20,000 downloads and it is planning to put more support behind the autumn edition.
Lakeland said its balance sheet remained strong, with cash in the bank and in hand rising to £13.9m from £11.9m the previous year.