Upmarket grocer Booths could be left hoping for a Christmas miracle as it revealed a sharp decline in profits.
The family owned chain, dubbed the “Waitrose of the North”, posted a drop in pre-tax profits to £1.3m from £2.9m the previous year. Sales fell by 0.5% to £280m for the year ending March 28.
As a result of the falling profits, the dividend paid to the family was reduced to £50,000 from £239,000, whilst the company’s donation to charities and community projects fell to £56,910 from £109,235.
Boots blamed “a number of factors, not least the significant degree of deflation on input prices and continued downward pressure on retail prices as our competitors fight for market share.
Despite signs of a recovering UK economy, business growth in our sector remains difficult to achieve for all with the exception of the discounters.”
Booths has also announced plans to open four new stores over the course of the year, though two would be replacing older formats. It added that two convenience stores would close, with the further possibility of other “non-core properties” being sold in order to reduce the company’s debt.
The chain has put a “considerable amount of work” into its Christmas preparations, particularly given that it has to make up for last year where operational failures left some stores without key orders.