Outdoor clothing company Berghaus said it has made “significant and sustained” investments into building its brand, contributing to its annual losses for 2013 widening to £8m.
The Sunderland-headquartered firm, launched in the North East in 1966, posted a nominal drop in sales in 2013 – of 2.6% to £54.6m – but its profit and loss account revealed a huge pre-tax loss of £7.8m, with the loss for the financial year reaching £8m.
However, the firm said the results for 2013 are broadly in line with expectation, representing a challenging year for the firm as well as heavy investments being made as part of its ambition to grow the brand globally.
The company, part of the Pentland group, said achieving that goal requires “significant, sustained investment into infrastructure, product and marketing”, and that the sums of money ploughed into those areas are now beginning to bear fruit.
During 2013, the UK outdoor market stabilised against the upheaval of 2012, but a strong performance in Japan and growth in Germany, where an office was opened in Munich, and the Nordic region contributed to an increase in international turnover, which rose from £4.8m to £5.5m.
In addition, the business has successfully continued to open up new markets around the world, including the competitive market in the US, where Berghaus products are now available for the first time in over a decade.
Outdoor footwear firm Brasher is now being fully integrated into the business, a move which combines two footwear collections, both marketed by Berghaus, opening up opportunities for growth in the UK and further afield.
Integrating the business led to duplication of some roles, which led to a reduction in the average monthly headcount from 181 to 150. The firm is, however, currently recruiting new workers in other areas of the group.
Interim brand president Richard Leedham said the firm has also reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining its global headquarters in the North East by signing a new long lease on its premises in Sunderland.
Investment is also being made into refurbishing the offices, first taken on in 1999, with work due to be completed next year.
Mr Leedham added: “Berghaus is the UK’s leading performance outdoor brand and now also has an excellent reputation and an established business in many key markets around the world.
“We believe that the brand has huge further potential and with the support of Pentland, we are committed to investing in it to ensure that this is realised.”