TJ Hughes has reignited its expansion plans after notching up full-year pre-tax profits more than quadruple the previous year.
Chief executive Sue Tennant plans to open six stores by this time next year. Last year, she put expansion plans at the 49-store discount department store chain on hold when she was drafted in by private equity backers PPM to turn TJ Hughes around.
The retailer will focus on opening in areas in which it has a presence already, with a focus on the South where it has two stores in Greater London.
According to figures filed at Companies House, TJ Hughes’s pre-tax profits were£5.1 million in the year to January 26, up from£1.2 million the year before. Operating profit before exceptionals soared 299 per cent to£2.9 million. Sales were flat at£239.5 million.
Tennant said that new buying and merchandising teams had overhauled product, which lifted performance in the second half of the year, leaving like-for-like sales flat at the year end – an improvement on a 4 per cent fall at the end of the previous year.
Tennant said performance in the first half of this year has continued to be positive, with like-for-likes up 6 per cent.
She added that homewares and soft furnishings had driven sales as customers improve their homes rather than move.
Tennant has continued to bolster her management team with the appointment of former Focus DIY finance director David Williams to the same role at TJ Hughes, following the departure of Mark Fontaine two weeks ago.
She has also hired former Jacques Vert marketing director Leon Quinn as online trading controller to oversee the development of TJ Hughes’ web offer.
The retailer will also test a number of store improvements at its larger 125,000 sq ft stores before rolling out refreshed elements to other branches next year.
CBRE is advising TJ Hughes on its property deals.