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Clarks profits up as Bolliger steps down

Peter Bolliger has unveiled a 4.4% increase in operating profits to £97.4m in his last annual report as chief executive of Clarks.

In documents seen by Drapers, Clarks recorded a 4.6% rise in sales to £1.17bn over the year to January 31. Post-tax profit dipped from £62m last year to £60.8m owing to the chain financing the deficit in the Clarks UK pension fund to the tune of £11.8m.

After 16 years at the helm, Bolliger has handed the reins to international managing director Melissa Potter, whose new strategy is expected to include developing new product categories and spearheading Clarks’ entry into the Indian market.

In his parting annual statement, Bolliger said he found trading conditions heartening, but added: “The worst of the recession may be behind us, but we can’t rely on a strong resurgence of consumer confidence to kick-start our own trading growth.

“The new financial year has begun relatively well. Trading conditions in the UK haven’t been easy, with fragile consumer confidence still to the fore.”

Over the year, the UK retail division delivered a 0.6% increase in like-for-like sales on the back of good back-to-school sales.

Clarks highlights

  • Group sales up 4.6% to £1.17bn
  • Operating profits up 4.4% to £97.4m
  • Post-tax profits down from £62m to £60.8m
  • North America turnover down 2.3% to $617m (£399m)
  • North America profits up 8.9% to $46.6m (£30.3m)
  • Deliveries to indies in the Republic of Ireland down 20%
  • Like-for-like store sales in the Republic of Ireland down 13.6%


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