Clarks is to continue its international growth as the global footwear giant’s sales reach £1bn for the first time.
Clarks, which according to Companies House increased sales to£1.05bn for the year to January 2008, will focus mainly on Asian markets such as India and China.
Sources close to the company told Retail Week that its UK sales had stayed in positive territory in its new financial year, despite the footwear market suffering overall and claiming several victims, such as Faith and Stylo. It is also thought to have fared well internationally, where it operates across 50 countries, except North America, which has been severely hit by the downturn.
According to Verdict, Clarks had a market share of almost 10 per cent in the UK last year, which may increase following the collapse of some competitors. Verdict expects the UK shoe market to be worth£5.48bn this year, which would be 1.9 per cent smaller than in 2008.
Verdict retail analyst Maureen Hinton said Clarks’ brand strength and more fashionable product will continue to improve sales. She added that its children’s footwear offer is also a key growth driver for the retailer. “Having authority in children’s shoes is a great asset because it pulls in the parents,” she said.
Clarks launched a transactional website in the UK last year and has just introduced a collect-in-store service across all of its 1,000-plus UK stores.
Clarks declined to comment.
Separately, Dune chairman Daniel Rubin said its acquisition of Shoe Studio last week creates a£150m business. He said: “We now have fantastic distribution to the department stores and we can use our joint design and development sourcing capabilities.”
Shoe Studio’s 11 stores were not part of the acquisition but Rubin said he may open standalone stores for some of Shoe Studio’s brands in the future. He also said he would consolidate its two head offices, both of which are in London.