Menarys' turnover slashed by 44 per cent in first year trading under coronavirus

Menarys has confirmed it will soon move into a former Dunnes Stores unit in Coleraine.
Menarys has confirmed it will soon move into a former Dunnes Stores unit in Coleraine.

HIGH street fashion and homewares retailer Menarys saw turnover slashed by 44 per cent in the first year of trading under Coronavirus.

New accounts published by the home-grown retailer reveal the devastating impact of the pandemic on its operations, with its income dropping from £20.6 million to just 11.5m in the 12 months to January 31 2021.

Headquartered in Moygashel, Co Tyrone, Menarys was dealt a double-blow in 2020 by the collapse of the Arcadia Group, which provided the brands for many of its outlets, including the Tempest fashion stores.

As a result, Menarys confirmed plans in December 2020 to close its Tempest outlets in Omagh, Cookstown and Craigavon’s Rushmere Shopping Centre.

In the commentary accompanying the accounts filed with Companies House this week, Menarys’ directors described the three outlets as “loss making”, adding: “This proposal is due to the administration of Arcadia, whose brands were the main trading partners within these three stores.”

The company closed its Tempest outlets in Omagh and Cookstown in early 2021.

It has now confirmed the Menarys/Tempest outlet at Rushmere will finally shut later this month on February 27.

It will leave the group with 18 stores, including outlets in Letterkenny and Carrick-on-Shannon.

Despite the impact to Menarys’ tills in 2020, the latest accounts show it continued to remain profitable in the year ending January 31 2021.

The company ended the trading period with a pre-tax profit of just under £220,000, slightly up on 2019 as the retailer managed to significantly reduce its outgoings during the year.

The reduced trading meant the group’s outgoing costs linked to sales were also cut by around 44 per cent, with distribution and administrative expenses reduced.

In the post-reporting period, Menarys have continued to shift tact by moving locations in both Lisburn and Coleraine.

The retailer relocated to Lisburn’s Bow Street Mall in September 2021 and will soon be moving to the former Dunnes Stores unit at Queens Street in Coleraine.

The former Dunnes unit is currently undergoing an extensive refit by property firm Magell. At 8,000 sq ft, its more than double the size of Menarys’ current unit at Church Street.

The Ballymena-based property investor has become a significant player in the local retail scene, by last year completing a deal to buy the Fairhill Shopping Centre.

Menarys’ managing director, Stephen McCammon said: “The relocation plans for Coleraine are very exciting for us as a local family run business, especially during the current pandemic when many businesses have struggled to keep the doors open.

“This new location will allow us to expand our range and ultimately increase our customer base within Coleraine. This secures the future for our current team and will lead to the creation of a number of new jobs in the town”.

Menarys was founded by Mr McCammon's great-uncle Joseph Alexander in 1923. The company traded as Alexander's for its first 50 years before rebranding during the 1970s following the acquisition of Menary Brothers in Lisburn.