Value retailer Home Bargains has recorded a 17 per cent leap in operating profits to £34.7 million in its full-year results as cash-strapped shoppers flock to its stores in search of cheap buys.
For the year to June 30, like-for-like sales jumped 10 per cent and total sales climbed 19 per cent, from£322 million to£383 million.
The Liverpool-based retailer, owned by TJ Morris, aims to achieve turnover of£1 billion by 2015, according to operations director Joe Morris.
By 2015 it wants to have 10,000 staff and 350 stores nationwide, up from its present 160-store portfolio. In the longer term, Morris said the retailer has the potential to open 600 UK stores – it opens between 20 and 25 stores a year at present.
“The downturn is helping us,” Morris said. “I’d rather be in this end [the value end] of the market than in the middle or upper market. We’re doing well out of it, but we can’t take anything for granted.” He is also confident that when the economy improves, the retailer will be able to retain the 1.5 million customers who shop in its stores each week.
“If you give customers top brands at a good price, they will continue to shop,” he said. “We have very loyal customers. We don’t advertise, we let the products speak for themselves.”
Home Bargains is also investing£35 million to expand its distribution centre in Liverpool, which will enable the retailer to service its target 350 stores across the north of England, Scotland and Wales once it has been completed by November next year.
The retailer wants to expand to other parts of the UK in the future, but Morris added: “We want to grow slowly, at a rate which is controllable. We don’t want to over-expand.”
Home Bargains’ growth mirrors that of its competitor Original Factory Shop, which reported profits up 16.4 per cent to£7.7 million in the year to March 31.