Lancashire-based jeweller's focus on people amid pandemic produces 'strong' financial year

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A Lancashire-headquartered jewellery retailer has released its latest accounts showing the company’s success throughout the pandemic year despite widespread store closures due to Covid-19 restrictions.

In a year that saw Beaverbrooks’ 71 stores unable to trade for six months due to national lockdowns, the retailer was able to maintain a strong financial footing and roles for all colleagues, with no redundancies made during the entire pandemic.

Despite the challenges the year presented, group turnover was £123.1m for the retailer, down only 14 per cent against 2019/20, which was the company’s centenary year and the brand’s most profitable of its 102-year history.

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The family-owned jeweller invested heavily in PPE and safety measures across the business, reconfiguring in-store and warehouse working environments and facilitating home-working for its head office teams.

Anna Blackburn and Mark Adlestone of BeaverbrooksAnna Blackburn and Mark Adlestone of Beaverbrooks
Anna Blackburn and Mark Adlestone of Beaverbrooks

It also invested in its e-commerce operations, upscaling of its existing offering. It has continued to grow and invest in the business since reopening, with refits to existing stores and new openings.

Beaverbrooks ended the financial year with a group operating profit of £16.3m (£17m in 2020) and a gross profit margin of 15.1 per cent (18.4 per cent in 2020).

It received Government Covid-19 business support via the Job Retention Scheme, business rates relief and Closed Business grants, which ensured it was able to support its people throughout a difficult year, retaining jobs for its 960 plus colleagues.

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The company also retained its charitable values, donating £1.5m to charities throughout the pandemic via the Beaverbrooks Charitable Trust.

Anna Blackburn, managing director of Beaverbrooks, said: “There’s no doubt that 2020 was a challenging year for the sector, so to come out the other side in such a strong financial position is something we are incredibly proud of as a business.

“For us, it was all about adapting to the changing landscape and ensuring we put the safety of our people and customers as our number one priority.”

Mark Adlestone OBE DL, chairman of Beaverbrooks, said: “A people-first ethos has always been at the heart of our business, and this was more important than ever during a year where our trading decisions were significantly influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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“Staying true to our purpose and being agile in our business decisions and direction, meant we were able to navigate a year of store closures and restrictions with an engaged workforce, zero redundancies, ensuring families were supported during this difficult time, and healthy levels of profit to continue to reinvest in our business.

“I have no doubt that the decisions we made throughout the pandemic helped us to achieve this and gave us a strong financial foothold as we entered 2021.

"We braved the storm and came out the other side even stronger – we are delighted with how we are currently trading, and while there have been hurdles along the way it has been a truly extraordinary story for us.”