Beaverbrooks is emerging from almost 18 months of covid-related restrictions with sales down by just 17% for the year to the end of February 2021.
Turnover is expected to be confirmed at around £119 million, down from £143 million in the 2019-20 financial year, Beaverbrooks managing director Anna Blackburn and chairman Mark Adelstone OBE told WatchPro in our Big Interview to be published next month.
Operating profit dipped by 7% from £17 million to £15.6 million, leaving the 72-store jewellery and watch chain with its balance sheet virtually unscathed by the pandemic.
The period since the end of February does include six more weeks when all stores in England were closed, but trading has been encouraging since the April 12 reopening.
Operating profit for the 2020-21 financial year was boosted by Beaverbrooks choosing not to repay any of the furlough money provided by the government while stores were closed for 26 weeks.
For a company with such altruistic instincts, this was a difficult decision, Ms Blackburn and Mr Adelstone admit.
The Watches of Switzerland Group said it will repay £50 million of furlough cash and coronavirus support loans that it has secured from the UK government as it announced sales rose by 12% to £905.1 million in the year to May 2 and profit increased from £78 million to between £104 million and £107 million.
Beaverbrooks ultimately chose to retain the furlough payments and grants because the scheme did the job it was designed for, which was to allow businesses like Beaverbrooks to retain their talent so it was in a position to reopen without any store closures or covid-related redundancies.
Beaverbrooks made no redundancies, it topped up salaries for furloughed workers and continued with its long term commitment to raising money for several charities.
100 Best Companies to Work For
Last year Beaverbrooks reclaimed its place as the number one ranked company in the annual 100 Best Companies to Work For list for the first time since 2009.
To be clear, this is the best company to work for of any size and in any sector in the UK.
The awarding body said that Beaverbrooks ranked first in the country due to its people-centric approach to business that put the safety of colleagues and customers first, protected jobs and incomes, and safeguarded the future of the company, all during the pandemic year.
The jeweller is now the only organisation in Best Companies’ history to be awarded a three-star accreditation for workplace engagement for 16 years running.
Sales of £119 million, while 17% down on 2019-20, are just 6.6% below 2018-19.
Last year was the centenary year for Beaverbrooks, with activity celebrating the landmark delivering a spike in sales to a record £143 million.