'Another solid year' - but Jarrold chairman warns of retail challenges for company
PUBLISHED: 05:30 17 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:51 17 October 2018
The chairman of one of Norfolk's oldest companies has hailed a "solid year" of growth, but warned that pressures will weigh on its retail division.
Newly-filed accounts at Jarrold and Sons reveal that turnover and operating profit edged up last year, and that the 248-year-old company’s retail arm had benefited from investment in new facilities.
Turnover grew slightly in the year to the end of January 2018, rising to £31.818m from £31.623m a year earlier. Operating profit, which strips out the impact of investment property revaluations, was £3.868m, up from £3.799m the year before.
Chairman David Hill said: “2017 was another solid year for the company and we are pleased with our performance.
“Our operating profit, before investment-related revaluations, was £3,868,000, an increase of 1.8% on 2016. We continued to develop our people and skills as well as support our ongoing investment programme across all our parts of the group.”
Mr Hill said the retail division had “another good year” thanks to the redevelopment of the deli and food hall area in the basement of its flagship Norwich shop, while improvements to beauty, fashion and accessory ranges “helped underpin a strong Christmas performance”.
But he sounded a cautionary note over the current year’s performance, set against a backdrop of rising costs and softening consumer confidence piling pressure on the high street.
“2018 will be more challenging for the company with high-street retailers nationally facing a much more difficult trading environment,” he said.
“However, we continue to invest for the long term with over £1m already committed to the retail business in 2018.”
Jarrold Retail has expanded its online offer and its growing digital marketing and social media teams had found new audiences “to offer an improved multichannel experience to our customers”, he added.
A report with the accounts also highlights political uncertainty and potential interest rate rises as factors which could further dent shoppers’ willingness to spend.
Jarrold and Sons employs around 480 staff at its different divisions which include the housebuilder Wensum Homes, St James Place office development and Jarrold Business Training.