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The Heatons chain of department stores has outlined plans to expand across Northern Ireland after its profits quadrupled last year.

Heatons (N.I.) also posted a 12 per cent rise in revenues and took on more than 30 extra members of retail staff.

According to the Northern Irish company's latest set of accounts, pre-tax profits jumped from £537,455 to £2.3m in the year ending 30 April 2013. Turnover for continuing activities increased by 12 per cent to £40.9m over the same period.

The average headcount of the business also climbed to 442 members of staff, up from 410 a year earlier. All of the additional jobs came in retail, which contributed a total of 431 employees, with the remaining roles coming from administration.

Heatons sells clothing, footwear, accessories, toiletries and homeware at 52 stores across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, including branches in Newtownabbey, Bangor, Coleraine and Cookstown. The company's head office is located at Tallaght, County Dublin.

And in their report accompanying the accounts, the directors signalled their intention to create more stores in the future.

They said: "The company is pursuing a policy of expansion through opening more stores in suitable locations. If these sites are unavailable or are too expensive, then this will limit growth in the future."

Heatons' largest shareholder is Mike Ashley, who is also founder of Sports Direct and owner of Newcastle United FC. The accounts show that none of the directors were paid a dividend last year.

The directors added: "The company has a culture of value for money and controlling costs. The directors are satisfied that the company is properly positioned to deal with the current economic environment.

"The directors expect the trade to continue at the current levels for the upcoming year."

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