Harrods pays its directors £100m in bumper year

HARRODS has paid its Qatari owners a dividend of £100m this year after turnover rose 10 per cent to £716m.

According to Companies House accounts, the record figure came from increased demand for luxury items such as watches and jewellery.

Despite the ringing tills, operating profits for England’s biggest department store dropped 13 per cent to £108m after payment of an accounting item named as a £26m intra-group payment for royalties. Without this one-off payment, operating profit would have grown by eight per cent.

But the accounts, which are for the year to 2 February 2013, revealed total profit after tax was £632m, up from £89.5m last year – as it was massively boosted by the sale of trademarks for £541m.

While Harrods has a website for international sales, only £5.8m of the £651.7m total sales came from outside the UK.

Qatar Holdings bought the landmark Knightsbridge store from Mohamed Al Fayed for £1.5bn in 2010 and its directors include managing director Michael Ward and Ahmad Al-Sayed, the chief executive of the Qatar Investment Authority.

The highest-paid director at Harrods received £1.5 m this year, up from £1.3 m last year.

The firm spent £52.1m on capital expenditure, updating its flagship London store as well as concessions it holds at Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

Qatar Holdings has had to pay dear to maintain the historic look of the main Harrods building – including £2.2m last year on repairs to terra cotta facade.

And Ward revealed last week that Harrods is now planning a multi-million pound refurbishment, which will include the introduction of a chandelier designed by American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly and the installation of a new escalator over all seven floors of the store.