Wilkinson earnings drop as shoppers rein in spending

VALUE retailer Wilkinson admitted its profit figures were “disappointing” as shoppers saw their disposable income cut over the last year.

However, the chain, one of Britain’s largest family-run firms, said yesterday it had experienced the best Christmas week in its history.

Turnover hit £1.559bn for the 12 months to January this year, up slightly from £1.556bn, according to the annual review. Pre-tax profit fell to £60.82m from £64.95m.

The operating surplus was £57.77m, leading chief executive Stuart Mitchell to write: “Although disappointing when compared with our record profits of £62.9m in 2010, this represents a strong performance given the trading conditions during the year and the pressures arising from commodity prices, the increase in VAT and the dollar exchange rate.”

The origins of the firm go back to 1930 when James Kemsey Wilkinson opened a store in Leicester. Today it has more than 335 stores and hopes to reach 500 by 2014.

The Worksop-based firm, which did not return calls for comment, now has a team in Hong Kong as it tries to source cheaper and better products from the Far East.