23 JUNE 1939, Page 37


Tim twenty-first ordinary general meeting of The Great Universal Stores, Limited, was held on Friday, June 16th, in London.

Sir Archibald Mitchelson, Bt. (the chairman) presided, and in moving the adoption of the report and accounts, said that at the meeting a year ago he had ventured a somewhat optimistic fore- cast of the results for the year now under review. He thought all would agree that that forecast had been amply justified. Further, whatever he might have said in that connection last year, he would say that after the closest possible discussion with their managing director, they-were equally confident in regard to the prospects for the current year, subject always to there being no major crisis or other developments to upset the normal course of the company's affairs. Considerable extensions had taken place in the scope of the business during the past year, and the Board were satisfied with the results so far attained, but the full benefit of those extensions should be still more apparent in the current and future years' accounts.

The trading profit for the year was £530,528, as compared with £408,714 in the previous year. The directors proposed to place to general reserve £97,361 and to pay a final dividend of 3o per cent. on the Ordinary shares, making 5o per cent. for the year, less tax, leaving a balance to be carried forward of £18,98. During recent years the directors had been busily engaged in broadening the basis of the company by the acquisition of similar and well-established businesses which, after the most scrupulous examination, they were quite satisfied they could develo6 further to their advantage. Those additional interests, of course, had had the effect of greatly enlarging their buying power and increasing the outlets for the sale of their wide variety of merchandise to the community. That procedure had now been carried to the stage when it became the directors' policy to consolidate and develop the fundamental position thus attained and in the main to concentrate, for the time being, upon realising the maximum benefits to be derived from the expansion of interests, which shareholders would see they had already begun to do. The profits of the year under review constituted a record in the history of the company, representing, after prior charges, a sub- stantial increase in the earnings on the Ordinary capital as com- pared with a year ago.

Mr. Isaac Wolfson (managing director), in seconding the motion, said, as to the current year's prospects, and without being unduly optimistic, it was his firm belief that the company would continue to show satisfactory and increasing trading results, provided that no international complications recurred.

The report was unanimously adopted.