Government support kept clothing retailer profitable during pandemic

INDEPENDENT fashion chain SD Kells revealed how government support helped the family-owned clothing retailer remain profitable last year.

In a report filed with Companies House, the Co Fermanagh-based operation, which has 19 stores in the north, described business conditions for the year up to Jan. 19, 2021 as “extremely difficult”.

Revenue during the year fell 29% to £ 8.98million, largely due to the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns.

But despite the significant loss of income, SD Kells actually reported a slight increase in its pre-tax profits, which rose from £ 816,000 to £ 1million.

“A very significant part of this increase is a direct result of receiving coronavirus-related grants,” the report says.

SD Kells was among many companies affected by Covid that have turned to the UK government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBILS) program to maintain cash flow during the lockdown.

Directors said the current year is likely to be a year of consolidation for the company, with the coronavirus still affecting business conditions.

Last year, the family business lost Roy Kells, who died in February 2020. Mr. Kells took over the management of the business from his parents in the 1960s.

His son Ian Kells is now Managing Director.

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Anne G. Cash

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