Norfolk furniture firm planning improvements after 12% rise in profit

PUBLISHED: 08:53 12 May 2018 | UPDATED: 12:05 12 May 2018

The Aldiss store in Hall Road, Norwich

. Picture: James Bass

The Aldiss store in Hall Road, Norwich . Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2007

A Norfolk family retailer says it is in a “very positive” position following a strong 2017 which saw pre-tax profit increase by 12%.

W J Aldiss, which has stores in Norwich and Fakenham, said it received customer orders worth £23.65m in the year to September 30 2017, up 5.9% from £22.33m the previous year. Turnover – the amount of these sales delivered in the financial year – fell by 1.6% to £19.08m.

Profit before tax was £617,269, up from £550,503 the year before, which the company put down to “strong trading and careful cost control”.

Aldiss managing director Darryl Simpson said the business’s performance was improving in a “very challenging marketplace”. It has already spelled trouble for other retailers such as Thetford-based Multiyork and Carpetright.

The increased profits have already been earmarked, with the company investing in a new IT system to link its stores, head office, distribution and online activity.

In-store facilities including air conditioning and toilets are also set for an upgrade.

Mr Simpson said: “We are fortunate that the company is still family-owned and the shareholders consistently support the reinvestment of profits in the business, ensuring our continued success.

“Recent investments included updating our distribution fleet, along with transforming the company website, both of which had an instant impact on the business with strong growth in online sales, and a record number of customer deliveries being made.”

A report accompanying Aldiss’s accounts, signed by director Timothy Summers, said the firm had a “very positive” order book worth just under £3m going into its 2017/18 year.

The document said a range of performance indicators including retail sales generated, from furniture and carpet orders placed plus homewares and restaurant sales, and the gross profit margin, which held steady at 41% in 2016/17, had been used to “monitor and manage the business effectively”. It also nearly doubled its cash reserves in the year, from £1.12m to £2.13m.

W J Aldiss, which celebrated 125 years of trading in 2017, employs 195 staff across its Fakenham and Norwich furnishing stores and Fakenham distribution centre.

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