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inov-8 sports shoe firm reports decade of record sales

inov-8, which is headquartered at Crook and trades in over 60 countries, grew its business by 42% in 2013 to $29m – or around £17.7m

inov-8

A County Durham company that designs and manufactures sports shoes, clothes and accessories has reported record sales for the 10th year in a row.

inov-8, which is headquartered at Crook and trades in over 60 countries, grew its business by 42% in 2013 to $29m – or around £17.7m.

In the USA, which represents 45% of the total business, the company posted a 25% increase in the year, while in its home market of the UK, the figure was 41%.

In Scandinavia, sales rose by 70%, in Germany by 39%, and in Russia by 85%.

inov-8 chief executive Robert Perkins, who has been with the business for five years, said: “These latest figures represent the hard work of our team throughout 2013. We have built a distinctive culture at inov-8 and as a result continue to grow across the globe.

“Embedded in all our team is a desire to innovate, while we remain focused on the committed athlete and agile to the challenges ahead as we begin our second decade.

“There is no doubt 2013 was an outstanding year for the company, and in the Fastlift, F-Lite and X-Talon we delivered three shoes which each generated sales of over a million dollars last year.”

Founded in 2003 by Wayne Edy – Durham and Wearside’s Business Executive of the Year 2012 – inov-8 has achieved an average of 60% growth per year in the last five years.

With 77% of sales now outside of the UK, it has been shortlisted for the 2014 Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade.

So far this year, it has also won several ISPO awards, including the gold award for its best-in-category Race Ultra Vest. In the USA, meanwhile, the X-Talon 212 show won the Competitor’s Fit Feel Ride Award for Best Traction.

The company, which has more than 80 shoes in its range, has built its reputation on meeting the needs of athletes who want to run naturally fast on all terrains and improve functional fitness workouts.

It has around 25 retailers in the south of England and caters for the likes of trail runners, triathletes and obstacle racers.

All its products are designed to be lightweight, minimal and functional, the aim of its specialist footwear being to keep the foot close to the ground so runners can feel and adapt to the terrain beneath them.

The company has sponsored the World Mountain Running Association since 2004 and supports grass roots competitions and events across the globe.

Perkins added: “We grew our staff significantly in 2013 and will continue to add to the team as we move forward.

“At our Group Research Innovation and Design Centre, in Staveley, the heart of the Lake District, we have recruited 21 new employees in the last two years. We are currently recruiting for the roles of social media specialist, website developer, apparel technician and footwear product manager.

“At the beginning of February we will also see our new international distributor manager, Martin Francis, join the business.

“This completes the seven-strong executive team we have built in the last two years.

“We will also expand our Staveley offices further in 2014, hot on the heels of a recent office relocation in Boston, USA, which saw us move into an 8,000 sq ft state-of-the-art-facility.”

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