Perthshire country fashion retailer The House of Bruar is set for expansion thanks to a £2 million investment.
The expansion will serve the online retail operation which managing director Patrick Birkbeck said has grown “exponentially” since Covid hit.
Despite concerns in the retail sector that consumer spending is slowing, he said continual reinvestment in the business is important.
He said: “Times are difficult – you can predict doom and gloom but we’ve just got to work very hard which is what we are doing.
“The family’s policy has always been to reinvest and not take the money out of the business.
“The last three years have been extremely torrid with not only Covid, but also Brexit and the continual and dramatic increases in overheads.
“However, the continual reinvestment of profits over the last 25 years has allowed the company to weather the storm and be in a robust position to progress and grow over the next few years.”
New financial accounts for the year ending January 31 2022 show record sales of £36m, partly due to the increase in online transactions. Profits before taxes, depreciation and amortisation were £9m.
Mr Birkbeck said: “The results in 2021/22 were positive and have continued to grow through the 2022/23 financial year. We are hoping for £40m revenue this year.
“It’s on the back of the direct shopping channels growing exponentially over the last couple of years.
“However, last year also reflected the return of in-person retail, particularly from domestic tourists.
“We are delighted to be in a position to have resources that can be reinvested in the company, that will allow both the retail and direct shopping channels to grow.”
House of Bruar expansion
The new building is at Ballinluig, 12 miles south of the main House of Bruar complex at Blair Atholl.
The business is currently tendering for the build, which will cover 20,000 sq ft. Construction could begin in the summer.
Perth and Kinross Council granted planning permission in 2015 for a further four warehouses to be built at Inch Farm, Ballinluig.
With the support of the local authority and Traffic Scotland, planning restrictions issued with the initial planning permission have been lifted to allow the development to occur before the A9 is dualled on this stretch.
The House of Bruar is family-owned with co-founder Mark Birkbeck now chairman.
The other directors in the business are Mark’s sons, Patrick and Tom.
In 2022, there were two million visitors to the retail site, equalling pre-pandemic levels.