Specsavers' profits soar during pandemic as jobs cut and strategic plans stopped
Specsavers has reported that pre-tax profits more than doubled to £441.5million, achieving an operating margin of 16.2% for the financial year ending 28 February 2021.
The opticians and eyewear company's turnover however decreased by 6.6%, which it attributes to Government enforced lockdowns severely impacting the group’s ability to trade.
The company said that the COVID-19 pandemic initially had a significant adverse impact on trading in all of Specsavers markets as customer numbers declined “dramatically” due to government enforced restrictions. As Specsavers stores were classified an essential service, the company said it opened stores whenever it was permitted to do so.
The company added that in spite of significant challenges, turnover returned to pre-pandemic levels in the latter part of the financial year.
To protect the business during the pandemic, Specsavers said it took a number of “significant actions” that included stopping its five-year strategic plan as well as associated significant investment activities.
As the strategic plan was suspended Specsavers also undertook a “review of colleague levels” in its support offices to “reflect the reduction in strategic activity”.
Specsavers announced in May 2020 that 450 support office jobs were at risk in administrative centres in Guernsey, Nottingham and Hampshire.
The company also shared that it had used Government support programmes where it was eligible to do so, which provided essential financial support. It added that it stopped using the support after 1 October, as it was then no longer required.
Specsavers concluded in its financial statement: “In spite of the significant challenges faced by the organisation, sales volumes and turnover have returned to pre-pandemic levels in the latter part of the financial year. There remains significant uncertainty regarding the longer-term economic outlook but the directors are comfortable that the group is well positioned to meet any challenges that lie ahead.”