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Overseas investment fuels Pentland sales

Pentland Group, the company behind brands including Speedo and Berghaus, saw sales climb 14.5% in 2010, thanks to continued investment in emerging markets.

Group turnover rose to £1.21bn on the back of the increase, with operating profit up 38.5% to £110m over the 12 months to December 31, 2010, despite the challenging market conditions. Among the highlights was a tripling of sales for the Boxfresh brand, which has proved successful in Germany, and a 28% rise in wholesale sales across Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

Pentland, which has a 57% holding in retailer JD Sports Fashion, is the parent company of Pentland Brands, which as well as Speedo and Berghaus also owns brands including Ellesse and Mitre and holds the global footwear licences for Lacoste and Ted Baker.

Group chief executive Andy Rubin told Drapers the impressive results were down to continued investment, innovation and success in key international markets.

“One of the advantages of being a private family owned company is that we can continue to invest even when times are tough,” he said. “We haven’t cut a single marketing budget and continue to train our people, and we have invested in emerging markets.”

He added that, while the pressure on margins remains a challenge, sales for 2011 would be up on 2010, with sales of Lacoste footwear buoyant in the US in the first half of this year.

He vowed to continue with Pentland’s strategy of adding value to product through innovation, in which respect the company remains committed to the UK market where 12,000 of its 13,100 staff are based. The group’s product development, including technological advances used in designs for Speedo’s Sculpture range for women, are housed in the UK.

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