Perthshire-based House of Bruar – dubbed 'the Harrods of the Highlands' – ups turnover and flags huge potential bill to install electric vehicle charging facilities

Landmark site off A9 cites concerns over state of economy.
Work has started paving the way to create more retail space. Picture: contributed.Work has started paving the way to create more retail space. Picture: contributed.
Work has started paving the way to create more retail space. Picture: contributed.

Perthshire retail and food outlet the House of Bruar – billed “the Harrods of the Highlands” – has upped full-year turnover as it prepares to expand – but flagged macroeconomic headwinds and said it has been quoted millions of pounds to install electric vehicle charging facilities.

The family-owned firm, which has 300 staff, saw its income increase by 15 per cent to reach £45 million in the year to January 31, 2024, with the jump mainly attributed to the expansion in direct shopping channels, which now account for half of turnover. A further “significant” development during 2023 highlighted was the launch of the first spring/summer catalogue, which House of Bruar explained enabled it to keep in contact with customers during a quieter period.

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What’s more, the clothing, food and tourism emporium said it is “fully committed” to growing not only direct shopping, but also retail, with work having started at the distribution centre to allow the building of two more facilities, which will “allow areas of storage at Bruar to be transformed into retail areas creating new departments and expansion of current ranges”. Other new areas for retail include updated restaurant facilities to provide a larger menu, extra car parking, and new linen and summer ranges in ladieswear.

House of Bruar added that it sees artificial intelligence as an opportunity for digital channels, and enhancing in-person retail, but stressing that retaining “the personal touch has to be essential”.

As for the macroeconomic backdrop, it said: “The state of the economy is a concern for the business looking towards 2024, which will not be helped by the uncertainty created by elections, both domestically and internationally.” Additionally, it pointed out that the war in Ukraine has doubled its energy bills, adding that while it is keen to provide electrical vehicle charging points to enhance the service on the A9, a recent quote estimated the costs of providing power to the site to be £4m “because of the lack of capacity in the network infrastructure”.

House of Bruar opened in 1995, and in January of last year said it was pushing ahead with expansion plans after announcing a rise in sales, but also cited the negative impact of Covid, Brexit, “and the continual and dramatic increases in overheads”.



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