Northern Irish Henderson Group saw its turnover rise to £642.8m in 2013, an increase of 3.6% on 2012.
The Mallusk-based, family-run wholesale and foodservice group posted record profits of £18.4m in 2013, up 17.5% on the previous year. It owns the Spar, Eurospar, Vivo, and Vivoxtra franchises in Northern Ireland, supplying more than 400 stores. The business is made up of Henderson Foodservice, Wholesale, Retail and Group Property, which collectively employ 2,470.
The company continued to reinvest in the business over the period with a capital spend of £23.1m, with ongoing development of the store portfolio, as well as acquiring the freehold of seven stores. It also bought an additional warehouse adjacent to its HQ to support growth – particularly of the fresh foods division. Henderson is also investing an extra £13.4m this year on existing refurbishment with more investment to be spent on acquisitions.
Ron Whitten (pictured), group finance director, said: “In 2013 we saw a record trading performance in a busy marketplace. We are committed to improving our value proposition to both our wholesale and retail customers and have maintained our competitive advantage by ensuring our collective buying power provides them with a great offer. We have also developed our range of products and services while continuing to identify operational efficiencies including ongoing investment in technology, particularly in our warehouse management systems, and in our fleet management.
“While wholesale profits were flat, as a direct result of the investment in retail price support for the benefit of our independent retail partners, the company owned store division has performed particularly well, doubling its profits from 2012.We believe that is because we are offering competitive prices and investing in training and recruitment to attract and retain the best staff and deliver excellent customer service,” he said.
Paddy Doody (pictured), group sales and marketing director, said: “Our research shows that consumer demands are changing, with shoppers spending more sensibly, doing “top up” shops to avoid wastage and demanding more locally produced fresh food. We are continuing to answer those concerns with what we offer.
“We have recorded 11% growth in fresh food sales, showing that our investment in that area has paid off and we will be able to extend our offering further by increasing our chilled warehouse facilities following the acquisition of premises at Hydepark, beside our existing site.
“Giving back to our community is very important to the Henderson Group and we are thrilled that we are in a position to support so many charities, including the NSPCC, Cancer Fund for Children and Tearfund with a total of almost £2.4m in donations from the group and our retail partners in 2013.”