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Celtic & Co returns to profit as turnaround takes hold

Cornish sheepskin clothing and footwear retailer Celtic & Co has returned to profit a year after its owners bought it out of administration in a pre-pack deal.

It made a profit of just over £367,000 for the year to January 31, against sales of £6.1m.

The business went into administration in February 2014 after racking up losses of almost £2m. Kath and Nick Whitworth, who founded the company in 1990, bought it back later that month for just over £60,000.

They appointed former marketing director Emily Bates as managing director to help turn it around, and implemented a new strategy.

“We refocused on our core products of knitwear, outerwear and footwear, and refined the marketing strategy, investing in email marketing and digital customer acquisition processes over traditional direct mail,” explained Nick Whitworth.

Sales are currently 6% above target and the business expects to grow by 10% this year.

The majority (70%) of Celtic & Co’s turnover comes from online, with mail-order and independent stockists making up the rest.

Celtic & Co has 31 stockists, mainly centred in the Southwest and Southeast of the UK including Black Sheep in Midhurst, West Sussex, Jotty’s Emporium in Budleigh Salterton, Devon, and Coyote Clothing in Padstow, Cornwall, as well as Lines at the Moulton Club in Osaka in Japan.

Around 5% of sales are international. The company is looking for new distribution partners in the UK and Japan and will launch a catalogue for the US market in October.

“In the longer term, we want to develop the supply base for new and innovative suppliers that allow us to extend our range appropriately,” added Whitworth.

Celtic & Co is based in Treloggan in Newquay and employs 48 people.  

@Tara_Hounslea

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