Business news

Henderson Group posts financial results revealing ‘strong sales performance’ for 2023

Posted By:
Henderson Retail Ltd.

11th Jul 2024

With around 500 Spar, Eurospar, Vivo and Vivoxtra stores throughout Northern Ireland Henderson Group revealed turnover of £1.3338billion – a rise of 8.6% on 2022.

Northern Ireland’s leading grocer, wholesaler, food service supplier and retailer Henderson Group has posted a turnover of £1.338bn for 2023.

The figure represents a rise of 8.6% on 2022, driven by a strong like for like sales performance throughout the Group’s independent store network and its company-owned/managed stores, it’s all-island foodservice business and continued growth in its retail technology business.

With around 500 Spar, Eurospar, Vivo and Vivoxtra stores throughout Northern Ireland, it remains the number one convenience store operator in the region.

Underlying gross profit improved to 21.9% driven largely by changes in departmental sales mix with lower margin categories such as tobacco and fuel representing a lower proportion of total sales, whereas the remaining grocery departments saw significant growth.

Neil Gamble, who has recently joined Hendersons as the new chief financial officer, also says the group’s customer service and warehouse facilities, strong stock availability throughout the year and ongoing investment in wholesale and retail pricing has underpinned these results.

Mr Gamble said: “In 2023, retention of existing retailers and recruitment of new retailers to our symbol brands were key to success, while our ongoing co-investment strategy with retail partners helped us to establish a best-in-class portfolio of supermarkets, forecourts and convenience stores which has facilitated that strong sales performance.”

The foodservice division of the group posted sales of £225million, up 19.7% from 2022, recovering the momentum lost during the pandemic, which particularly impacted the hospitality sector. Contract and independent business in both NI and ROI was strong with the food-to-go sector benefitting from the recruitment of new retailers and the rollout of the Delish deli brand.

The group’s employee numbers at the end of 2023 were 5,126, up 220 from 2022, with a wage bill of £132.2 million.

Mr Gamble continued: “While overall performance in 2023 was satisfactory, the first half of 2024 has seen more challenging trading conditions. Principally, the impact of inflation, higher interest rates (and mortgage payments) and general deterioration in consumer sentiment has meant like for like sales performance up to the end June 2024 has slowed considerably to 2.4%.

“The directors will continue to invest in retail and wholesale pricing to give shoppers even better value, while our store refit and development plans, logistics, IT infrastructure and people development investments will continue apace.”

The Strategic Report submitted to Companies House also gives details of Henderson Group’s carbon reduction and environmental footprint, detailing that Henderson Wholesale and Henderson Foodservice warehouse and distribution divisions maintained their ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management certification for the 12th year in a row. Ambitious internal targets have been set for 2023 – 2024 which include reducing general waste tonnage by 1.5% per annum, food waste reduction by 10% and energy consumption by 2% per annum.

Mr Gamble added: “Our energy reduction pledges fall under our Tomorrow Matters strategy, which focuses on people, place, and planet, aiming to develop the business in a way that is beneficial to and responsible for both employees and shoppers, while having a positive impact on society as a whole.

“In 2023 we began installing Electric Vehicle charging points throughout our company owned retail estate thanks to a partnership with bp pulse, while 1,494 solar panels were installed to cover 75% of the newest distribution warehouse at our support office in Mallusk. Solar panels were also installed across 23 more Henderson Retail stores in 2023, reducing the company’s annual electricity consumption by around 160 tonnes of carbon.”

Henderson Group continued to fundraise for key charity partners including Marie Curie, Cancer Fund for Children, Tearfund, FareShare and Action Mental Health, raising approximately £1.45 million in 2023, while many other organisations were supported by stores throughout communities in NI.

Henderson Group’s strong performance year on year has allowed the business to recycle profits with a planned investment of circa £52m in wholesale and retail pricing and a robust capital expenditure programme.

The second phase of the Group’s solar panel installation across warehouses and stores continues, while Henderson Wholesale’s fresh food ambition continues, collaborating with Independent Retailers and Henderson Retail, to create fresh food superstores that cater to changing consumer demands and needs in towns and cities across Northern Ireland.

Henderson Group is a local family business achieving 84th place on the Sunday Times HSBC Top Track 100 league table of the UK’s private companies.