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Pre-tax profits at the owner of the Spar franchise in Ireland, the BWG Group, rose by 23pc to €29.83m last year.

BWG Unlimited Company and subsidiaries operate a network of stores across Ireland and the UK and revenues at the group increased marginally, from €1.392bn to €1.41bn, in the 12 months to the end of September last.

A breakdown of the group’s revenues show that 87.5pc were generated in the Republic of Ireland, totalling €1.22bn, with the remaining €174.6m generated in the UK.

Numbers employed last year fell from 1,940 to 1,877 with staff costs increasing from €60.9m to €70.79m.

The group operates the Spar, Spar Express and Eurospar franchise in Ireland and the south-west of England and also operates under the Mace, Londis and XL brands in Ireland.

The group also operates Irish and UK distribution centres which supply its affiliated retailers.

It also operates 21 cash and carry outlets under the Value Centre brand throughout Ireland which supply the independent retail sector, the licensed trade, foodservice and hospitality sectors.

The directors said they consider that both the results for the year and the trading prospects for the future are satisfactory and it is their intention to continue to develop the existing business.

The group’s operating profits last year increased by 18.5pc, from €28.12m to €33.2m. The group recorded its pre-tax profit of €29.8m after finance costs of €3.4m. The operating profits take account of non-cash depreciation and amortisation costs of €13.7m.

The cash pile increased from €45.88m to €50.19m. The group enjoyed post-tax profits of €27.23m after paying corporation tax of €2.59m.

Pay to three directors, John Clohisey, Leo Crawford and John O’Donnell, last year increased from €1.04m to €1.07m.

The Johannesburg-listed Spar South Africa (SSA), owns an 80pc stake in BWG and earlier this year reported to investors that sales at BWG rose 2.9pc to €730m in the six months to the end of March this year.

SSA revealed that Storm Emma, which paralysed transport services here and sparked panic sales of bread and other food items, helped drive “significant turnover growth” at BWG.

SSA stated: “The business recorded significant turnover growth in the month of March, not only impacted by the earlier Easter, but also driven by the major storm weather that closed down large portions of Ireland and the United Kingdom as consumers bought in large quantities of food and beverages.”

The accounts reveal that in July 2016, the group paid £12.25m for UK retail firm, Appleby Westward Group.

Cost of sales in the 12 months to the end of September last totalled €1.2bn and other costs last year included warehousing and distribution expenses of €60.2m; marketing and selling expenses of €54.6m and administrative and IT expenses of €44.27m.

Source: Independent

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