Go Outdoors records loss but to open more stores

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SHEFFIELD-based outdoor clothing retailer Go Outdoors recorded a pre-tax loss in the last financial year, after undergoing a period of “significant change”, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

In the accounts, the company describes the retail market as challenging, and confirms that it plans to open more stores in the current financial year. The company already has 40 stores and employs 1,200 staff. In the 52-week period ended January 29 2012, the company recorded a loss on ordinary activities before tax of £2.56m, compared with a profit of £5.2m the year before.

The full year turnover was £143.67m, which is an increase on the £115.24m the year before. Net debt was reduced by £9.62m to £10.64m, while the loss on ordinary activities after tax of £2.75m was transferred to reserves.

The directors’ report, which is signed by John Graham, the chief executive, states: “The company is in a satisfactory financial position at the period end, in line with the directors’ expectations.”

In April 2011, the entire share capital of the company was acquired by Go Outdoors Topco, which resulted in legal and professional costs of £2.2m.

The report states: “Prior to this, a strategic review was carried out of the company’s freehold property portfolio. This resulted in the sale of the freehold of the Coventry store on January 31 for £5.3m, which was then leased back.

“The business invested significantly in the development of the store portfolio, with the opening of a further 10 new stores around the country. This investment, along with that on the online business and IT infrastructure, will create the environment for further significant growth.”

The statement continues: “The retail market continues to be challenging, and our ongoing investment... is an important mitigating factor.”

Since the end of the financial year, the company has opened stores in Swansea, Chester, and Penrith, and exchanged lease contracts for a store in Poole.

It adds: “The group plans to open further stores in the current financial year period... Further investment in web infrastructure and people has taken place, and is continuing.”

This month, it was announced that Mr Graham, the company’s joint founder, was stepping down as the chief executive to take on a new role which will be focused on product development. Mr Graham is staying on as CEO until his successor has been appointed.