Jeweller F Hinds full year pre-tax profits dipped despite a sales jump as the retailer warned that rising vacancy rates posed a threat to its business.
The jeweller’s pre-tax profits dropped from £2.9m to £1.9m in its year to March 25 despite an 11% sales jump to £64.1m.
In documents filed at Companies House, the retailer said it had been resilient in a challenging market but was mindful of the risk presented by the number of store closures in the locations in which it trades.
It said the closures could make the “overall shopping experience for the public less pleasant”.
“As more towns succumb to this empty high street blight they become less desirable places to visit and this in turn may damage the remaining stores,” it said.
F Hinds director Andrew Hinds said “excessive” business rates were a big deterrent for retailers looking to take vacant units. This comes as Kurt Geiger boss Neil Clifford revealed he is to close some UK stores and focus on international expansion as he blamed high business rates and rents of “killing UK retail”.
Hinds put the jeweller’s profits slip down to investment in both store refurbishment and its pension scheme. He said its focus on value had helped it attract new customers over the year which led to its sales jump.
He said: “People are shopping around more. We’re getting many people walking through the door who wouldn’t have visited out store before. Getting value for money is more important in the current environment.”
Hinds said that sales were “a little bit up” in its current year.