Stanfords has made a profit for the second time in 14 years after investing in its festival and awards and licensing its 163-year-old brand.
The company’s like-for-like sales increased 2.3% in the year ending 31st March 2016 to £6.20m, helping it achieve a £5,000 profit - the second time it has made a surplus since 2002.
The company, which has its flagship bookshop in London’s Covent Garden and another store in Bristol, returned to profit for the first time in 13 years in 2015 after turning its fortunes around from a £40,000 loss a year earlier.
While Stanfords’ profit has dropped from £27,000 in 2015 to £5,000 in 2016, its managing director Tony Maher said this was the result of “heavily investing” in the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards and the Stanfords Travel Writers Festival.
“The Awards and Festival will support the future success of the company,” said Maher. “We have invested heavily in the development and production of both as they represent a great opportunity to raise awareness of the Stanfords’ brand beyond our fiercely loyal, and much-loved, customer base.”
The travel bookshop has also had success branching out into licensing of the Edward Stanford brand and map archive, which is being represented by Rocket Licensing. “It has taken a lot of hard work and investment to get us there, but we couldn’t be happier to be working with Rocket to license the Edward Stanford Signature Logo and Edward Stanford Cartographic Collection,” said Maher. “There has already been a great deal of interest from a diverse set of potential licensees, and we can’t wait to see the kinds of product and uses which will be developed in the very near future.”
The company’s Bristol store was also boosted by a “significant’ refurbishment, creating a more dynamic front of store and a far more “welcoming” children’s section, which has boosted sales.
Meanwhile, Stanfords Coffee House was opened at the company’s flagship shop on Covent Garden’s Long Acre in spring, which was recently shortlisted for a TimeOut Love London award.
Maher said: “We may be a company with a long heritage but we are bristling with new and exciting ideas …We plan on Stanfords being around for another 163 years and believe that by reinvesting in strategic and diverse opportunities alongside our core offer as we have done this year, we will be the first port of call for travellers to pick up a map for their vacation to Alpha Centauri in 2179!”