// Specsavers profits more than doubled in the year to the end of February 2021 as it cut costs during the pandemic
// The retailer made 450 redundancies in head offices, equivalent to a quarter of its support staff
Profits at Specsavers more than doubled last year after the optician retailer halted spending and cut jobs amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sales fell 6.6% to £2.73 billion from £2.93 billion during the year ending February 28, according to new filings to Companies House.
Despite the drop in revenues, the optical chain posted soaring pre-tax profits from £240.4 million to £441.5 million. Net profits also surged to £339.7 million from £151.8 million.
The business, owned by the billionaire Perkins family, is the largest optical chain in Europe, with over 2,100 locations across nine countries. It employs more than 32,000 people and operates in the UK and Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavia and the Netherlands.
Despite its success in 2020 and 2021, it said that the pandemic “had a significant adverse impact on trading in all the markets in which Specsavers operates as customer numbers declined dramatically” at the start of the global health crisis. But it was able to continue operating due to the essential nature of its services and this carried it through.
Its actions to control costs also saw it pause its five-year strategic plan and cut 450 head office jobs. It also took advantage of government support funding in the first months of the pandemic in various countries, but had no need of that after the start of October 2020.
The retailer said the number of eyecare and hearing tests had grown since Covid restrictions eased in the summer, which led to it taking on more staff than it had cut earlier in the pandemic.