Profits up as Auchrannie faces Brexit challenge

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Profits increased at Auchrannie Resort by nearly one-third in its most recent financial year.

The company reported a pre-tax profit of £448,493 for the year ended March 31, 2018, up from £308,982 the previous year. The accounts coincided with the hotel’s move into employee ownership in January last year, which gave each of its 160 employees a direct stake in the business.

The change came during a year which saw Auchrannie maintain occupancy rates at 90 per cent, helping to grow turnover to £7.6 million up from £7.2m.

Director Colin Morrison noted that profits had increased following a concerted effort to make savings across the business, ahead of it becoming a ‘real living wage’ employer following year-end in April.

However, he noted that Brexit is undermining the company’s ability to retain and recruit staff from EU countries. Currently, around one-third of Auchrannie’s staff come from nations within the EU, which the UK is scheduled to leave on March 29.

In his annual interview with The Herald newspaper Mr Morrison said: ‘Certainly this summer there were quite a lot of reasonably long-term team members who headed back to their home countries. We are finding it more difficult to recruit from Europe.’

Asked whether Brexit is causing the business in other ways, Mr Morrison said there has been a reduction in the average length of stay guests are booking, reflecting diminished consumer confidence. He also expressed concern that Brexit could hit consumer spending if it puts more pressure on the economy.

Mr Morrison added that £800,000 was invested last year to add six new eco-lodges to the resort’s new Couple’s Retreat in the Auchrannie grounds, which began taking guests in June. The performance of the lodges is being assessed with a view to more being added.