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Lakeland files stellar full-year accounts

Published: 28 September 2010
Pre-tax profit at high street homewares chain Lakeland soared 140% to £10.1m and turnover increased by more than 5% to £141.9m in the 12 months to December 31, 2009.
Lakeland files stellar full-year accounts
The recession-busting performance was revealed in accounts filed last month and show a company that's in rude financial health.

It ended the financial year with almost £8.5m of cash in the business - over the previous four years, the most it had managed was £1.8m. It also paid down a huge amount of debt, reducing bank loans and overdrafts from £2.6m in 2008 to £0.

"There's no secret factor there," finance and retail director Bob Granger told DIY Week. "It's all down to good trading. We've always been quite careful with our financing. Some companies like to live quite close to the edge whereas we like to live a bit more cautiously. It means that, particularly in the current climate, we relish the fact that we're the master of our own destiny."

Speaking to DIY Week about the results Mr Granger said: "We're obviously pleased. It's a big increase in our sales and our profits and that's where we'd want to be. For us it's been about focusing on the fundamentals and the first of those is customer service. We have a lot of very loyal shoppers and we don't take that loyalty for granted."

In fact, Lakeland topped the table for customer service in Which? magazine's Top of the Shops 2010 survey this year, an award Mr Granger described as "a great accolade for all our colleagues across the company".

The other fundamental, he said, is product innovation. "We work very hard to make sure we always have something new on the shelves that will make our customers say 'wow, I've got to have one'. If you get the basics right the results will hopefully follow."

The current year is also set to be a record-breaker for the chain as it has opened more new stores in 2010 than in any previous full year.

Belfast, its first Irish store, and Witney in Oxfordshire opened in March, Kingston in May ("we had one customer say 'my life is complete, Lakeland is in Kingston'"), Cheltenham in June, Epsom opened this week, Meadowhall is tabled for October and November will see a store open in Llanelli in Wales.

But the Ireland opening isn't the furthest afield as an agreement with a franchising partner saw a Lakeland open in Dubai in March, in Bahrain last week and a Qatar store is set to open in January. Four stores opened in the 2009 period - Beverley, Chelmsford, Durham and Reading.

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