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Innovation is key as Pentland defies gloom

Pentland Group, the parent company behind the UK’s largest brand supply house, Pentland Brands, saw sales climb 11% to £1.04 billion for the year to December 31 thanks to investment in both product and marketing innovation.

Pentland Group, which via its Pentland Brands division owns mega brands such as Speedo and Ellesse and has the licences for Lacoste and Kickers, said group operating profit had risen by 1% to £68.1 million over the period, with particularly strong performances from its Speedo, Berghaus and Lacoste brands. Net assets increased in value by 14% to £380m. The group’s full accounts were due to be filed at Companies House as Drapers went to press.

Andy Rubin, chief executive of Pentland Brands, the UK’s largest branded supply house, said: “The results reveal another year of strong performance, with further progress both at group level and within individual brands. This was achieved despite an increasingly challenging trading environment, and demonstrates the strength of the group’s business model and the quality and breadth of our brand portfolio.”

Pentland Group, which is also the majority shareholder in JD Sports Fashion, was boosted significantly by its sponsorship of and success at the Beijing Olympic Games. Some 94% of swimming gold medals were won by athletes wearing the controversial Speedo LZR Racer suit, which won the Speedo brand acres of free publicity. Speedo will relocate its Nottingham head office, where it employs 170 staff, to a new high-tech facility within the city centre in 2010.

Lacoste’s strong performance was driven by strong international growth, while outdoor brand Berghaus continued to perform well, boosted by expansion in Asia.

Pentland Brands also took a 20% slice of streetwear brand Gio-Goi in December.

Pentland Group said performance was also lifted by strong sales and profits at JD Sports Fashion. The sports and branded fashion group, which owns the JD, Bank and Scotts chains, recorded a 13% uplift in sales to £670.8m and a 24% rise in profit to £54.4m for the year to January 31.

Pentland Brands

Owned brands

Speedo

Ellesse

Boxfresh

Berghaus

Mitre

Red or Dead

Licensed brands

Lacoste

Kickers

Ted Baker footwear

Investments

Gio-Goi

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