Pre-tax profits down at Sam McCauley chain
after a year of consolidation, pre-tax profits were down at one of Wexford's best-known companies in 2014, but the directors say things are looking up for 2015.
The Sam McCauley chain's latest accounts show pre-tax profits halving to €1.94m.
The accounts reveal that revenues at the group, which operates 28 pharmacies and employs 550 staff, fell by four per cent, from €77.1m to €74.16m.
The key factor for the 54 per cent drop in pre-tax profit, in the year to the end of September 30, was a €1.1m write-down in the value of financial assets.
The firm last year paid a €500,000 dividend to its shareholders, and €1m to shareholders in 2013.
The Sam McCauley chain has been in business for 40 years and has a presence in counties Wexford, Carlow, Cavan, Cork, Dublin, Kerry, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford, and Wicklow.
According to the directors' report, '2014 was a year of consolidation and the directors are pleased with the performance achieved in a retail market that continued to be difficult outside the larger population areas'.
The directors state that 'the outlook for 2015 is better and the group is well-positioned to benefit from the expected improvement in consumer confidence and spending'.
The group last year reduced its bank debt from €16.7m to €13.4m.
Commenting on the results, Managing Director Patrick McCormack told this newspaper that the general business sentiment is good with a noticeable improvement since September/October 2014.
'We are expecting and improvement in turnover this year to circa €75 million,' he said, 'we have also invested circa €1 million in two store redevelopments this year and a major investment in Redmond Square first floor to allow for online order fulfilment going forward.'
Mr McCormack said the lower profit result last year was due to write downs 'and the closure of Continental Pharmaceuticals which was our wholesale/trading division.'
'Numbers employed across the group continue to improve as trading improves in our 28 stores and our online business.'
'In addition we have a further two new stores planned for 2016,' he said.
The figures were revealed before news broke in the national media of a prospective take over of the McCauley group by the US-owned Lloyds Pharmacy group.