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Strong sales boost Clarks profits

Family-owned shoemaker Clarks saw a strong rise in pre-tax profits and sales, as the company consolidates its position in the European and US markets.

Family-owned shoemaker Clarks saw a strong rise in pre-tax profits and sales, as the company consolidates its position in the European and US markets.

Clarks’ profits increased above the £100 million (€113.8 million) mark in its last financial year up to end of March 2011, according to accounts filed at Companies House and seen by the Sunday Times.

The Somerset-based company, one of the biggest shoe manufacturers and retailers in the world and maker of the famous desert boots, announced a turnover of £1.28 billion, a 9.2% increase on the previous year.

The UK remains the company’s biggest market, but Clarks' revenues are growing fast abroad. In continental Europe, sales rose up more than a third, while in the US revenues grew more than 10%.

In addition, Clarks has enjoyed strong growth in Asia with just under one million pairs of Clarks shoes being sold in China during the year to the end of January.

The firm also expanded into India for the first time, launching stores in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

The company reportedly shared a £30 million dividend between mostly Clark family members. The lion's share belongs to a small core led by sixth-generation Lance Clark, the managing director of its Barkers shoes subsidiary, who control 25% of the company.

The group, which is still three-quarters owned by the Clark family, was founded in 1825 when James Clark made a pair of slippers out of sheepskin from his brother Cyrus's tannery.

Nathan Clark, original designer of the iconic Clark’s desert boot and great grandson of Clark’s founder James Clark, passed away in June aged 94. 

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