Losses at the Irish arm of Arcadia swelled to £1.7m last year from £762,000 the year before, as the fast fashion chain incurred an exceptional charge related to lease provisions, newly-filed accounts for the business show.
According to The Irish Examiner, Arcadia said it's aware that customers continue to face "testing times" because of economic conditions. Revenue in Ireland fell to £17.6m in the 12 months to the end of August last year, from £19.5m a year earlier.
"During the year, turnover declined 10% as all brands found trading conditions in Ireland extremely difficult," said the directors of the Irish unit. "To counteract this decline in performance, the company sought to reduce costs wherever possible."
The accounts show that the company, which operates brands including Dorothy Perkins and Topshop, employed an average of 361 people at the end of last August, compared to 365 at the end of August 2014, and that staff costs dropped to £4.6m from £5.4m.
"The current retail environment is very challenging as competitors seek to attract value-conscious customers using a variety of routes to market," the directors added.
The director's report said that: “while the retailing environment in Ireland is highly competitive, the board is optimistic that the ongoing investment in stores and product will contribute to the company’s objective of growing with both local and underlying sales”.
“Further improvements in the supply chain, including tight stock and commitment management, will be key to ensuring that gross margins are optimised going forward.”
Meanwhile Topshop in Ireland returned to profit as revenues rose 2% to £23.42m in the 12 months to the end of August.