Clipper reports a record year as retail moves online

Clipper Logistics, which distributes goods for Marks & Spencer, Asda and Morrisons, has reported a record, "standout" performance which reflects the continuing and permanent growth of online retailing.

Clipper has seen high double-digit growth, resulting in record annual revenue and profit

The Leeds-based firm reported a permanent structural shift from physical to digital retail and said it has seen high double-digit growth, resulting in record annual revenue and profit.

The firm said that its success was based on sustainable organic growth and multiple new contract wins including Revolution Beauty, T.M.Lewin, Amara Living, Hope & Ivy, Joules, N Brown, Simba Sleep, The Very Group, Linenbundle, H&M and JD Sports.

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The group sees strong momentum into 2022 and a robust new business pipeline.

Clipper' s chief executive, Tony Mannix, said: "When the pandemic first started to hit last March, we were very aware that retail customers were going to have a tough time.

"We made sure all of our teams were safe. We satisfied ourselves that we were doing all we could in terms of Covid safe working.

"Once we knew our teams were safe, we reached out to every customer and asked them what can we do to help.

"We were able to do a number of things very quickly. We were able to move unused capacity from one customer that didn't need it to a customer that did.

"We opened up capability for a number of the large grocers. We started to do work with the NHS, in terms of supporting the NHS.

"What we did was make ourselves very, very accessible and help everybody with their challenge.

"It worked. We've picked up activity not only from people who have had a challenging period, but also from people who are re-engineering themselves."

Clipper said it has played a significant role in supporting the Government in the rollout of PPE, although this was not material to the company’s performance.

Mr Mannix said: "We have distributed over a billion devices for the NHS, which was our lowest margin contract by a long way."

Clipper said it is investing in eight new warehouses, including its new northern flagship site in Sherburn which is now at full capacity (1.4 million sq ft) and a new site in Sheffield.

The group reported a structural shift to online retail which is driving momentum.

The firm said group revenue rose 39 per cent to £696m in the year to April 30. Underlying earnings rose 52 per cent to £31m.

The board is recommending a final dividend of 7.1p per share, making a total dividend per share of 11.1p for the full year, an increase of 14 per cent.

Steve Parkin, executive chairman of Clipper, said: “I am pleased to report a very strong set of results, which in a very fluid environment demonstrates the ability and agility of the Group and the robustness of our business model to capitalise on opportunities and deliver growth.

"We have grown revenue by £195.5m to £696.2m and we have also grown underlying EBIT by a much larger 52.4 per cent to £31.4m.

"The market has witnessed significant recent change particularly with the acceleration of the growth in e-fulfilment which now represents 70 per cent of our logistics revenue.

"Our unique proposition, which offers the full end to end range of services within the e-commerce field, has allowed the group to benefit from this strong dynamic and will provide further momentum in the coming years."