The Leekes Retail & Leisure Group has reported strong results for the year ending March 31st 2013.

The group reported an annual turnover of £66m for its retail, leisure and property arms of the business, showing a year-on-year increase of over 7%. The group achieved profit before tax and exceptional items of nearly £850,000 and an EBITDA of £3m – or 4.5% of turnover. The group made good progress in 2012/13 and, with its strong property-based net assets of £65m and low gearing at 36%, is well positioned to take advantage of improving consumer confidence.

The retail division continued to be the strongest performing element of the group, with sales exceeding £51m. This represents an increase of 4% across its home department stores located in Wales, the Midlands and the South West.

The retail business has continued to expand as a result of Leekes' commitment to investing in the business, which last year included the launch of a £6m store in Coventry, a marketing drive to support its recent store opening in Bilston, and an extensive refurbishment programme at its existing Cross Hands store.

Commenting on the success of its department stores, Emma Leeke, MD of Leekes’ retail business, says: “Building a brand in a new geographical location requires significant investment both in the creation of industry-leading stores and also in its marketing.

“The substantial investment over the last few years and recent trading figures means the directors are confident of reaping the benefit of this in the medium term as we establish our brand as the leading independent home department store in the Midlands.

“The Bilston store performance has been further improved, as it has benefited from the increased Midlands-focused marketing spend which has helped to increase turnover in the first eight months of 2013/14 by 15%. The store has continued to deliver year-on-year sales growth since its acquisition in 2009.

“The Coventry store, which opened mid-way through the financial year, also booked £1m of sales that will be delivered and therefore contribute to the 2013/14 financial year.

“Across the retail division, we have seen a sales growth of nearly 15% in the first eight months of this financial year and we are looking forward to building on this in the future as the property market shows clear signs of improvement.

“We remain committed to investment in our store portfolio, and in particular we are in advanced discussion with developers about relocating our Llantrisant store to a new purpose-built store in a new town centre location.”

The group also reported pre-tax profit of £1.25m for the Vale Resort Hotel & Golf Club, representing an increase of 19%.