RECORD SALES of Speedo swimwear helped send total revenues at leisure brands group Pentland up 10 per cent last year to £1.9bn.
The family-owned business said sales at its brands division, which also saw record performances from Lacoste Chaussures and Ted Baker footwear, jumped 11 per cent to £590m after strong trading in countries including China, Brazil, Russia and Turkey.
Pentland owns a 57 per cent stake in JD Sports Fashion, where sales grew 9 per cent to £1.3bn as the Blacks and Millets outdoor specialist bought out of administration in 2012 continues to recover.
Pre-tax profits were 36 per cent higher at £85m in 2013, having been hit in the previous year by the Blacks and Millets deal.
Pentland started out in 1932 as a shoe wholesaler in Liverpool with £100 in capital.
By the next decade the group had transformed itself into a footwear manufacturer, and in 1964 it floated on the London Stock Exchange.
In the 1960s Pentland became one of the first European companies to source shoes from Asia.
Fuelled by this access to cheaper resources, the company has grown rapidly over the years through a series of acquisitions and licence deals.
In 1981, the group bought a majority stake in Reebok International for $77,500.
Pentland sold the stake in Reebok in 1991for $77m.
Other brands include Berghaus and Canterbury.
Today the family business, now in its second and third generations, employs more than 19,000 people and boasts over 1,000 stand-alone shops and 10,000 dedicated retail areas across the world.
The group said its Speedo Sculpture product line of swimsuits for women achieved 39 per cent growth over the year, following a marketing campaign that championed the brand’s role in encouraging fitness and inspiring people to swim.
Its sports fascia reported record revenues growth in its core UK and Irish markets with JD posting like-for-like sales up 6.7 per cent over the last year, with Blacks and Millets eyeing a return to growth this year.
In 2014, Pentland won Top European Family Business of the Year at the European Families in Business Awards.