Leeds-based Clipper has bought the German logistics firm, Geist, for an undisclosed sum.
Clipper has identified Europe as an area of growth, because demand for online retailing is expected to soar there.
More retailers are looking for a service that crosses national borders. The latest deal will establish new relationships with UK and European businesses.
Tony Mannix, the managing director of Clipper, said yesterday: “The UK is the most advanced country in Europe for multi-channel retailing, with more than 12 per cent of all purchasing taking place online.
“However, major EU countries such as Germany, Italy and France are growing online sales fast and are hot on the heels of the UK. Through listening to our customers, it is clear that European expansion and the ability to handle the growing demands for online international returns are key concerns for retailers.”
Clipper now operates from six sites in Germany. The former Geist management team has become part of Clipper’s German operation.
Steve Parkin, the chairman and founder of Clipper, said yesterday: “It makes sense to export our expertise and innovation into growth markets, which will enable us to win new customers and better meet existing customers’ demands.
“Returns are becoming an increasingly important consideration for retailers, as online sales have seen returns reach levels of 40 per cent. No retailer wants items returned, but when it does inevitably happen, for whatever reason, it’s vital to get stock checked and back into the inventory as soon as possible.
“This is another important step for Clipper and signals our intentions to be an internationally renowned name in retail logistics.”
The Clipper Group was founded by Mr Parkin in 1992 with one van delivering clothing for fashion stores. The company has a £200m turnover, and it employs more than 3,000 people at 30 sites across the UK and Germany. Clipper provides retail support services to a number of well-known high street names,
It has been working with Leeds-based supermarket chain Asda since 2006.