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Expansion boosts profits at Leekes

Leekes Retail & Leisure Group has reported a strong year of results for the year to the end of March.

The group, which is an advanced talks over relocating its Llantrisant store to a purpose-built site in the town centre, reported an annual turnover of £66m for its retail, leisure and property arms of the business showing a year-on-year increase of more than 7%.

Leekes achieved profit before tax and exceptional items of nearly £850,000.

Its retail division continued to be the strongest performing element of the group with sales exceeding £51m, representing an increase of 4% across its home department stores in Wales, the Midlands and the South West.

This year Leekes launched a £6m store in Coventry and invested in a marketing drive to support its store opening in Bilston, West Midlands, and an extensive refurbishment programme at its Cross Hands store.

Emma Leeke, managing director of Leekes’ retail business, said: “Building a brand in a new geographical location requires significant investment both in the creation of industry-leading stores and also in its marketing.

“The substantial investment over the last few years and recent trading figures means the directors are confident of reaping the benefit of this in the medium term as we establish our brand as the leading independent home department store in the Midlands.

“The Bilston store performance has been further improved as it has benefiting from the increased Midlands-focused marketing spend which has helped to increase turnover in the first eight months of 2013-14 by 15%.

“The store has continued to deliver year on year sales growth since its acquisition in 2009.

“The Coventry store, which opened mid-way through the financial year, also booked £1m of sales that will be delivered and therefore contribute to the 2013/14 financial year.

“Across the retail division, we have seen a sales growth of nearly 15% in the first eight months of this financial year and we are looking forward to building on this in the future as the property market shows clear signs of improvement.

“We remain committed to investment in our store portfolio and in particular we are in advanced discussion with developers about relocating our Llantrisant store to a new purpose-built store in a new town centre location.”

Leekes also reported a pre-tax profit of £1.25m for the Vale Resort Hotel & Golf Club, representing an increase of 19%.

Stephen Leeke, managing director, said: “As well as achieving the highest profit in five years in 2012/13, the profits for the Vale Resort for the eight months ended 30 November 2013 are up on last year and the growth looks set to continue with forward bookings well up.

“The resort has enjoyed strong business across its golf, leisure and the spa operations along with much improved performance in the corporate and conference sectors.

“In addition, the company has now also completed its conversion of the 58 luxury apartments at Hensol Castle Park Development just off Junction 34 of the M4, with only two properties left to sell.

“The apartments have brought in £500,000 pre-tax profits in the year which has contributed to the overall pre-tax total of £2.8m since the start of the development.”

The Leekes managing director added: “Plans are also presently being considered for the overall development of the historic Hensol Castle including a new banqueting suite in its inner courtyard which, together with the existing reception, library, morning and dining rooms.”

Source : Rupert Hall - Wales Online
www.walesonline.co.uk/business/business-news/leekes-reports-strong-profits-6449860

28 December 2013
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