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Beaverbrooks creates strong financial foothold for covid impact with 2019 results

Beaverbrooks – MD Anna Blackburn and Chairman Mark Adlestone OBE DL

Beaverbrooks’ financial performance in 2019 created a strong foothold for a covid-impacted 2020, the retailer has said.

In officially releasing the results for the full year ended February 29, 2020, annual turnover increased by 12.4% to £143.2m from £127.4m the year previous.

WatchPro first exclusively reported on these results when reflecting on the covid quarter with the jeweller’s managing director, Anna Blackburn, in July.

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Blackburn said “turnover was zero” for the company when the country was plunged into lockdown but did explain how Beaverbrooks posted a record operating profit of £17.2 million for the year ending February 29 from sales totalling £143 million.

Today, the company explained how for that same period, gross profit margins increased to 18.4% from 16.4% in 2019 as a result of careful management of costs across the business.

As a result, 2019 was the biggest year in Beaverbrooks’ 101-year history, achieving in aggregate the six most profitable years in its history.

Today, Beaverbrooks said the 2020 plan for the business was to celebrate and build on this success, but Beaverbrooks barely had time to do either before the global pandemic hit in spring.

Despite this, the retailer is expecting to retain strong levels of profit in 2020 and has seen a strong recovery after lockdown with sales up 12.2% YOY from August to October.

The company puts this down to its ability to adapt to the changing landscape, alongside its people-centric approach to business.

As part of its mission to ‘enrich lives,’ Beaverbrooks donates 20% of retained profits to charity and despite the challenges 2020 has presented, a total of £1.78m has been donated to charity in the financial year from both the Company and the Beaverbrooks Charitable Trust.

Since the year 2000, the company has donated in excess of £15m to over 750 charities.

Mark Adlestone OBE DL, Chairman of Beaverbrooks, said: “We’ve just had the six most profitable years in our history, which we’re delighted with, and without doubt provided a strong financial footing as we entered 2020. Last year was an important year for us as we celebrated our centenary, so to reach this milestone and achieve the many accolades awarded to the company during this period, is fantastic.

“We are immensely proud of what we achieved as a business in 2019/20, however no one could have predicted we would be facing a global pandemic in 2020, and the challenges this would bring for the sector as a whole. By respecting our heritage and values, staying true to our purpose, and adapting to the continually changing landscape, we’re seeing continued growth this year, so we’re optimistic about what the future will bring.”

While Anna Blackburn, Managing Director at Beaverbrooks, said: “There is no doubt that our last financial year, the best in the company’s history, provided us with a strong foothold to get through 2020 and beyond. Despite the challenges we’ve faced this year, we’ve experienced positive trading across both stores and online which has put us in a strong position as we approach Q4. This demonstrates that business agility and continued investment in people and product can deliver sustained success.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, we knew that the way we responded would define our next chapter – we had to be strategic in our approach instead of making knee jerk reactions. Our people-centric ethos has been absolutely vital for us, now more than ever before. Throughout the pandemic we’ve ensured all of our colleagues felt engaged with our business decisions and direction, and this level of engagement is now paying into the bottom line.”

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Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas