Russell & Bromley grew operating profit 26.3% to £13.9m in the 12 months to December 31, as sales increased 6.2% to £88.1m.
The premium footwear retailer put the hike in its margin down to “firm control” of overhead costs, a focus on “presenting quality product and providing excellent customer service” and a “creative and innovative culture”.
However, it experienced an 8.1% increase in its buying costs over the period, and said the state of the UK economy presented a “cause for concern”.
Russell & Bromley sources a lot of its product from the Eurozone, especially Italy, making it vulnerable to the weak sterling, but the retailer partially offset this by hedging against currency fluctuations.
“Exchange rate fluctuations, which have been significant, are mitigated through the use of time options under which purchases for future seasons are covered in advance,” the directors said in a statement.
“The company…experiences competition at each of its trading locations. The company’s response to competitive forces is achieved through a creative and innovative culture and reputation for product quality and customer service.
“The performance of the UK economy has been a cause for concern and forecasts of its future performance remain pessimistic.”
Russell & Bromley reduced its head count from 1,094 to 1,040 employees during the year, with most of the job losses coming from sales, although the total costs of wages and salaries edged up 1.7% to just under £14m.
The retailer has 46 standalones, 27 of which are located in the south of England, with a bias towards London and Greater London. Just over half of the branches have separate children’s departments with fitting services.
It is due to start work on a transactional website in the next few weeks.
Russell & Bromley, which is headquartered in Bromley, Kent, was co-founded in 1873 by George Frederick Bromley and has remained in the family ever since.