holland and barrett

Holland & Barrett has increased sales in UK stores and at global franchise outlets by more than 15% to £424.7m ,as it opened another 53 sites.

Operating profits also rose 30% in the year ended 30 September 2015 from £84.5m to £109.7m.

Group subsidiary Holland & Barrett Retail operates 694 shops in the UK and 99 worldwide franchise sites, with 26 new stores opened in the UK and another 27 new franchises agreed in 2014/15, according to new accounts. CFO Christian Keen said the growth was driven partly by an 85% rise in sales to franchisees.

The wider Holland & Barrett International group, made up of more than 1,000 stores and the online business and owned by Carlyle Private Equity, revealed in December that revenues were up 12% to £574m, with like-for-like growth of 7%.

Keen added: “Our strong financial performance was based on a combination of continued investment in store openings and refurbishments and realising the value of our omni-channel growth strategy.

“At the end of March this year we completed our 28th consecutive quarter of like-for-like growth. Investment in infrastructure in our home and overseas markets continues with our new Dublin warehouse opening on 1 May, and work has started to double the size of our head office in Nuneaton.

“We have set ourselves a challenging target to become a £1bn business by 2020, drawing on plans for further international growth.”

Dividends paid by Holland & Barrett Retail to the group’s parent company fell 45% in 2014/15 to £42.2m. Keen said it enabled the group to invest more than £50m in new stores, people and systems.

Holland & Barrett has faced criticism this year among suppliers after sending letters demanding a reduction in costs of at least 5% to fund the expansion plans.