The Henderson Group, owners of the SPAR, EUROSPAR and VIVO brands in Northern Ireland, has posted robust results for the year ending 31 December 2016.
Turnover increased by 6% to £699.3m, despite what the group described as “competitive pressures” within the grocery and foodservice sectors. Pre-tax profits on ordinary activities after interest rose 10.9% to £23.87m.
Like-for-like grocery sales were up 3.5%, driven by strong performance of fresh food categories which grew in volume terms by over 8%, increasing footfall and basket spend in its supplied retailer stores. In addition, the group said that retention of existing retailers and recruitment of new retailers to its symbol brands were both key to the success in 2016.
The company said that an ongoing co-investment strategy with its retail partners to establish a market leading portfolio of supermarket, forecourt and convenience stores has boosted the strong sales performance across all its brand formats. In addition, fuel volumes in Henderson Retail Ltd (company owned stores) grew by 8.6% on a like-for-like basis, driving increasing footfall to the stores.
Meanwhile, Henderson Foodservice delivered 11% growth on the previous year, performing strongly across all key market channels, with good growth in the Republic of Ireland market. The Company’s Barista Bar coffee brand, which is now available in 260 in SPAR, EUROSPAR and VIVO stores had a particularly good year with sales up by 30% on a like-for-like basis.
Commenting on the results at the company’s recent Wholesale Conference in Seville, Spain, Chief Financial Officer Ron Whitten said: “Strong like-for-like growth across all subsidiaries, high retention rates of existing retailers, recruitment of new retailers, coupled with significant investment by the group, directly within our company owned stores as well as with its retail partners, has delivered additional sales of £40m.”
Patrick Doody, Sales & Marketing Director, added; “It was also another record year of investment by the Group, with a spend of over £34m in store acquisitions, store refurbishments and head office infrastructure, designed to future proof the business to meet consumer and retailer demands going forward. In 2016, 16 new stores were opened under the Group’s main retail brands.
“SPAR and EUROSPAR, in particular, continue to dominate the local symbol group scene in Northern Ireland. A comprehensive strategic growth and profitability plan implemented in 2016 which included continued focus on delivering excellence in customer service, investing in our people, developing our information systems, maximising our operational efficiency, enhancing our fresh food ranges and in-store proposition, continues to yield results as projected.”