Family-run footwear retailer Charles Clinkard says it is feeling the impact of economic recovery with a strong upturn in trade.
In the year ended January 25, the company, which is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, saw turnover drop slightly from the year before to £33.4m, while operating profit fell from £1.6m to £1.2.
In an annual report, the firm said it had continued to perform well in a difficult trading environment, maintaining strong cash generation.
And, in the first six months of 2014, continued progress has been made, with sales rising almost 10%.
Managing director Charles Clinkard said: “It’s a strong start to the year and is validation that customers are remaining loyal to a company that they know and love – like-for-like sales are up more than 9%.
“We have built a strong reputation by providing excellent customer service and quality products to generations of families since 1924, and we want to thank our customers for their loyal support.”
The company, based at Preston Farm in Stockton, opened its first store in Middlesbrough in 1924. Now a nationwide retailer, it has expanded to 33 stores across the UK, with sites including Darlington, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Leeds and York.
Crucial to firm’s ethos is its ability to sell the right products in the right locations, responding quickly to changes in retail. Going forward, its focus is multi-channel retailing, ensuring both online and store formats are fully integrated to meet customers’ need.
With a view to investing in the future, it has also installed a new £800,000 IT system across all branches and its head office, providing a strong modern platform that results in improved information and response times.
Customer service likewise remains a strong focus and, as part of its anniversary celebrations, the company is running a Win Shoes for a Year’ competition, with 300 pairs of Gabor, Rieker and Clarks up for grabs.
Two winners have already been chosen and more will selected each month.
To enter, customers need to upload a picture of themselves to the competition website, wearing a pair of their favourite Charles Clinkard shoes.
Mr Clinkard added: “Some of our customers are with us through all their walks of life, from baby’s first steps to embarking on life’s adventures, so it’s appropriate that we thank them with a competition that enables them to walk in style with free shoes for a year.”
Pictures can be uploaded at http://charlesclinkard-competition.com . Alternatively, staff members will be able to assist in-store.