Leeds-based Clipper Group has reported a 41 per cent surge in its profits after its second full year of trading as a listed company.
Clipper posted a 26 per cent growth in logistics services and continued its commitment to shareholder returns with a 25 per cent increase in dividend to 6p per share. Total earnings per share increased 41 per cent to 10.3p
The group, founded by former miner turned multimillionaire Steve Parkin, serves a number of blue chip companies such as John Lewis, SuperGroup and Zara and is only in its second full year as a listed company. All of these firms extended their relationship with Clipper last year during which time is also launched its new Click & Collect service for John Lewis and continued to add clients to its returns service Boomerang.
Mr Parkin told The Yorkshire Post: “We have a new site at Northampton which has huge potential with John Lewis returns management side of things and we are going live with that as we speak. With John Lewis as the backbone we are going to offer the service to our other retail customers so that they have the John Lewis standard of service across our shared use network.”
Mr Parkin said that the high end gathering of clients it served was allowing the business to enjoy such positive growth levels.
“It is a particularly strong area for the business,” said Mr Parkin.
“In the retail space we find it easy to bump into customers at events. We are very much looking for new customers and we are always looking for complimentary acquisitions.”
Mr Parkin said no discernible impact was being seen at Clipper following the Brexit vote and that the current difficulties on the high street and the march to online retailing were giving more opportunities to the business.
“That can always be a problem when there is a knock to confidence, spending gets weaker,” he said.
“Sales for online are growing so naturally we want to build on that. We did see an initial blip out there but since then there has been no slowing down of activity and everything has been bubbling along, so is very much business as usual from our point of view.”
Tony Mannix, chief executive, said: “We are constantly innovating. We clearly think about ourselves as a retail solutions provider rather than a third party logistics business. Eighteen months ago City Link went into administration and at the time they handled 25 per cent of John Lewis online volume. They asked us as a long-standing customer to help. While we could not help with the online delivery side of things we could provide retail solutions.”
Subsequent to the period covered in the trading update Clipper has signed a new contract with Links of London.
One of the region’s most impressive success stories in recent times, Mr Parkin’s great love other than Clipper has been The Beautiful Game.
A lifelong Leeds United fan, he has been linked with the club several times as a potential owner of the club.
However Mr Parkin said any prospect of him turning his attention to Elland Road were unlikely at present.
“Clipper is still taking up all of my time and is likely to do so for the foreseeable future,” he said.
“We have sponsored the club and will always give the football club our support, financial or otherwise.
“I am very much a supporter and always will be.”