Mountain Warehouse announces 20 years of unbroken growth
British outdoor retailer Mountain Warehouse had reason to celebrate on Friday as it announced another year of record sales, marking 20 years of unbroken revenue growth.
The leading retailer said sales climbed 30.8% to £184.8 million in the year to 28 February, supported by the brand’s ongoing expansion in the UK and internationally. Pre-tax profits increased 22% to almost £20 million, while EBITDA grew 25% to £25 million.
“We started with a single shop in 1997 and 10 years later in 2007 we had around 40 stores with sales of about £20m. My wife used to say that it took us 10 years to become an overnight success! The downturn in 2008 allowed us to start growing really quickly when stores became easier to find and customers were looking for fantastic value. We passed 100 stores in 2010 and have been on a steep climb since then with online and international playing a bigger and bigger part in the business,” said founder and CEO Mark Neale.
Focus on international growth
In the year, the retailer opened 40 new stores across the UK including new locations stores in Winchester, York, Chester, Oban, Fowey, Oakham, Salisbury and Sherborne.
Meanwhile, international expansion accelerated with 62 overseas stores at year end. This resulted in the company doubling its international sales and increasing their share of revenue from 20% last year to 25%.
Mark Neale said there’s scope for the international business to be at least as big as the UK business, as the overseas unit is now as large as the whole Mountain Warehouse business was in 2010. The company is exploring the possibility of opening stores in Czech Republic to build in the success of its business in Poland where it has opened three more stores in recent weeks. Germany is another market where the company is looking to open more sites this year.
The Mountain Warehouse’s secret to success is to always try new things, said Neale, and this approach has taken the business to new arenas like the ‘athleisure’ market. In November, Mountain Warehouse launched a sporty sister brand called Zakti as an answer to the fast growing demand for activewear. And the company has performed well, with its recent collaboration with former Pussycat Doll Kimberley Wyatt proving hugely popular, said Mountain Warehouse.
As for the outdoor retailer, the focus has been in recent years on widening the product range. In addition of running and cycling kit, Mountain Warehouse has introduced more summer clothes, particularly for children.
The company plans to open 40 new stores this year, with approximately half in overseas markets.
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