Specsavers bounces back in latest year
Specsavers, the optical chain that’s a major retailer of branded eyewear, has bounced back from the pandemic and its results filed at Companies House show turnover surging almost 23% in the year to February.
Turnover rose 22.5% to reach £3.354 billion for the group (which operates internationally) in the 12 months, with operating profits up to £449.5 million. Profit before tax was just short of £446 million, up from £441.5 million a year ago. And net profit was £349.5 million, better than the £339.7 million 12 months before.
The big rise in turnover more than made up for the 6.6% fall that the company had seen in the previous financial year. But while the trajectory of the figures was generally in the right upwards direction, the company did see a lower operating margin in the latest 12 months at 13.4%. This was down from 16.2% previously, as the company said its costs have increased. Those costs included investments in its people, customers and the general growth of the business.
And despite the normalisation of business during the period in question, the company still experienced the impact of the pandemic, to a certain degree, with operational restrictions in all of its stores, offices, and supply chain sites internationally
Eyewear specialists suffered during the recession, despite the ability to continue trading because of the eye tests they offered. Hygiene measures meant they were unable to process the usual volume of customers and the need to instantly sanitise any frames for customer might have touched was also something of a turn-off for anyone shopping for new optical frames or sunglasses. Despite the high street getting back to normal, hygiene measures remain a feature of optical stores.
Most of the company’s sales are through its physical branches and it employs almost 36,000 people in markets including the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Canada. It increased its workforce by over 1,600 staff during the year.
In its accounts, Specsavers said it's optimistic that it will continue to see a return to pre-pandemic “normalised” operating performance in the current year in its core markets. It's also confident in the plans it has to grow and develop its presence in its newest market, Canada.
But it added that it's closely monitoring the wider, macroeconomic environment and acknowledged the economic challenges it's facing. It cited inflationary pressures in all parts of the business, coupled with global market uncertainty caused by the conflict in Ukraine. This is impacting the cost base and consumer confidence in all of its markets. But it’s satisfied “that the right measures are being taken to continue to mitigate any further financial impact that may arise”.
The company sells eyewear from brands including Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo, Levi’s Vivienne Westwood, Marc Jacobs, Liberty London, Balmain, Superdry, Viktor&Rolf, Kylie Minogue and more.
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