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Pentland weathers international challenges as sales rise

Sales at Pentland Group increased 10% to £2.4bn for the year to December 31, despite “difficult market conditions” in China and Russia for the firm’s branded business.

Canterbury England

Canterbury England

“In China we saw the impact of the slowdown and Russia is in recession while South America has its own localised problems,”said Andy Long, CEO of Pentland Brands.

He added that international expansion remains a focus for the group. “The US market is challenging but remains a big opportunity for us. Likewise with China, although the market has slowed, there is still growth potential for us there.”

Rugby-inspired label Canterbury Brands had “record-breaking sales” last year, boosted by the Rugby World Cup. The brand is worn by the national teams in England, Ireland, Japan, Russia and Spain. It is also the official clothing partner for the British and Irish Lions 2017 tour of New Zealand.

“Despite England crashing out of the tournament early Canterbury exceeded our expectations and we have great hopes for the Lions tour next year,” Long added.

Operating profit, before tax and exceptional items at Pentland Brands’ parent company, Pentland Group, was up 36% year on year to £220m. Pentland Group holds a 57% stake in JD Sports Fashion.

Long said the result of the referendum on the European Union will “undoubtedly” have an effect on consumer confidence but the firm will “make the best of” what comes next.

“It is what it is. We just have to make sure that we are set up to make the most of what happens next. The problem is we don’t have any visibility of what that looks like. It’s a challenge for all businesses as we don’t know what the answers are or when we are likely to get them.”

He added: “However, I’m confident that we will get through it. We are a great trading nation and Europe is still a big opportunity for us so we will be able to find our way.”


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