Clinkard Group a shoe-in for an increase in profits

Historic shoe retailer the Clinkard Group has continued to grow its profits despite difficult trading conditions on the UK’s high street

Historic shoe retailer the Clinkard Group
Historic shoe retailer the Clinkard Group

The Teesside designer footwear retailer reported a rise in revenues to £34.3m for the year ended January 26 2013, up 3.9% from the £33m posted in its last annual accounts, while pre-tax profits were also bolstered to £1.56m from the previous year’s £1.1m.

The company, which sells footwear and accessories online and through a network of 32 stores and factory outlets around the UK, including seven stores in the North East, said the firm produced good results in a tough trading environment, with its sales growth key performance indicator showing a 3.8% rise compared to last year’s -1.4%.

Cash generation remained strong with £2.2m generated from operations, and over the course of the year, the firm was able to pay down £500,000 of a £1m bank loan.

In a report accompanying its annual accounts, the directors said: “The business has continued to perform well in a difficult trading environment.

“During the year, the group has invested �625,000 in a new IT system. Net funds have increased from £100,000 to £1m in the year leaving the group with a very low gearing and well-placed to take advantages of opportunities as they arise.

“In the coming year, the retail climate will be challenging, but from our secure platform, we are confident that performance will continue to be satisfactory.”

Established by husband and wife Charles and Eveline Clinkard in a single shop in Middlesbrough 89 years ago, the business is now in the hands of the third generation of the family, operating 40,000 sq ft of warehouse space to service its network of stores.

The firm marks its 90th anniversary next year yet current managing director Charles Clinkard has stuck to his grandfather’s values of putting customer service first and selling upmarket brands as well as more fashionable ranges. Going forward, the firm aims to strengthen its position through continually reviewing its business strategy and building on core strengths.

The company said its recognises that a significant amount of its success comes down to the performance of a number of key employees, prompting the group to actively engage with its workforce, which increased to 590 from 583 over the 12 months.

The directors said: “The group operates in a very competitive market place where it is important to ensure the correct product and service levels are consistently offered to the customers.

“The group’s success depends to a significant extent on a number of key employees. The group actively engages with all its employees to ensure that staff continue to gain experience and knowledge through attractive employment policies, training programmes and incentive schemes.”

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