Specsavers fares strongly during pandemic as profits soar
Specsavers profit more than doubled in the year to the end of February 2021 as it cut costs during the pandemic while sales fell only 6.6% to £2.73 billion. Sales had risen 5.8% in the previous year before Covid hit.
It cut a number of jobs last year but weathered the pandemic well, its accounts filed at Companies House show.
The optical chain, which is one of the biggest sellers of branded prescription frames and sunglasses in the UK, Europe, and other territories, said pre-tax profits rose from £240.4 million to a massive £441.5 million. Net profit surged to £339.7 million from £151.8 million.
The business, owned by the billionaire Perkins family, is the largest optical chain in Europe, with over 2,100 locations across nine countries. It employs more than 32,000 people and operates in the UK and Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavia and the Netherlands.
Despite its success in 2020 and 2021, it said that the pandemic “had a significant adverse impact on trading in all the markets in which Specsavers operates as customer numbers declined dramatically” at the start of the global health crisis. But it was able to continue operating due to the essential nature of its services and this carried it through.
Its actions to control costs also helped as it paused its five-year strategic plan and cut 450 head office jobs. It also took advantage of government support funding in the first months of the pandemic in various countries, but had no need of that after the start of October 2020.
And it said business had risen both regarding eyecare and hearing tests since Covid restrictions eased in the summer. This has led to it taking on more staff than it had cut earlier in the pandemic.
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