Profits slip at Clarks
Footwear retailer Clarks saw its pre-tax profits decline by 2.4% in the year to 31 January as it struggled against challenging market conditions in the UK.
Pre-tax profit fell to £106.1 million from £108.7 million in the previous year while group turnover rose 9.1% to £1.4 billion. The company’s operating profit dropped by 16.4%.
Clarks chief executive Melissa Potter said: "While the UK has remained extremely challenging throughout and European markets became ever more clearly influenced by the wider concerns over the sovereign debt crisis as the year progressed, North America has emerged with increasing confidence from the recession and our fledgling operations in Asia, India and the Middle East all prospered in a climate of business growth."
In the UK, Clark’s multi-channel business was its best performer as its home delivery and collect-from-store businesses helped turnover rise to £45.9 million.
In North America turnover increased by 9.1% to £524 million as shoe sales reached 20 million pairs for the first time.
Clarks said it would continue its programme of closing unprofitable stores in the UK. Potter added: "This will be a gradual and long-term process which will still leave us with a substantial investment in retail distribution in our home market."
In the coming year Clarks will focus it strategy on driving growth from its multi-channel operations and developing a new online children’s footwear offering.
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