Profits drop is 'irrelevant', insists Greenwoods group

PROFITS at Greenwoods Menswear tumbled last year following tough conditions within the retail sector.

The 147-year-old firm, which has its head office in Greengates, Bradford, announced pre-tax profits of 22,000 – down on the previous year's figure of 68,000.

The figure comes on the back of the company's decision to dispose of its freehold asset property and rent all of its retail space, but the firm insists the drop is "irrelevant".

Richard Davies, financial director of Hanson Partners which owns Greenwoods Menswear, said: "It was a long term decision to move away from freehold. It's all part of our turnaround position from a loss-making company at the turn of the century.

"These figures only relate to the year to February 28, 2007. We have had another year since then. The retail marketplace hasn't got any easier but we have done better this year and there is a much better outlook for February 2009."

Laura Crawford, legal director at Hanson Partners, added: "The profit figure is irrelevant. Greenwoods spends 25m a year on stock and overheads. The business is not making huge amounts of money at the moment but the drop in profits is miniscule.

"If it was important to us it would be easy to increase the profit figure but we are looking at the bigger picture."

Last year Greenwoods announced plans to open 10 new stores in the UK, taking the number past the 100 mark. But only five have actually come to fruition after plans were put on hold due to soaring rents on the high street. However, Mr Davies said the company was once again looking round for more stores to move into.

Greenwoods also operates a suit hire business, named 1860 after the year of its foundation, which it said had performed well and that both its retail shops and suit hire business were working towards improving its e-commerce presence.

Greenwoods started life in 1860 as a tiny hatter's shop in Bradford which specialised in reshaping the hats of prosperous Bradford businessmen.

At one point Greenwoods had around 200 stores across the country – a number which dropped dramatically during the 1990s before it was acquired by Hanson Partners in 1996.

Greenwoods Menswear's head office recently moved into Europe's first motoring themed conference centre – Speedmaster, launched by Hanson Partners.

The 20,000 sq ft conference and training centre will be used for a variety of purposes by businesses throughout the north of England.