Clipper reports strong half year after contract wins

Clipper Logistics, which distributes goods for retailers such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Asda and Morrisons, reported strong half year results and said it is exceptionally well placed to benefit from the migration to online retailing.

Clipper delivered record volumes over the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend
Clipper delivered record volumes over the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend

The Leeds-based firm said recent contract wins, including Sports Direct and an extended relationship with Halfords, provide significant earnings momentum.

Clipper’s chief executive Tony Mannix said the group delivered record volumes over the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend for a number of key customers.

“It was unbelievable. It used to be Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but now it’s Black November,” he said.

“Customers kept it rolling. Black Friday was up 25 per cent for us overall despite the fact it fell a week early, before pay day, which was a risk.”

Clipper said it is seeing a big increase in the number of consumers who choose click-and-collect services when placing orders online.

“If you don’t have click-and-collect, you’re going to suffer,” said Mr Mannix.

“We are creating a series of solution sets for customers that allow them to deliver.”

The group also said it is well placed to cope with any Brexit fall out.

“We are seeing growing demand from Europe,” said Mr Mannix.

“We’ve built two buildings in Poland and we have six sites in Germany. Our customers are also expanding into Europe.

“If you trade with Clipper in the UK, it’s very easy to trade in Europe. We are well positioned to deal with whatever happens with Brexit. We have a very solid business in Europe.”

He was speaking as the group announced a 14 per cent jump in revenue to £228m in the six months to October 31.

Group earnings rose 16 per cent to £10.7m as a result of strong performance in e-fulfilment and returns management.

Pre-tax profits climbed 17 per cent to £9.3m and the interim dividend was raised 14 per cent to 3.2p per share.

Over the six month period, it started a new e-fulfilment operation for Pretty Little Thing in Sheffield. Having launched in July, the site is now fully operational.

Earlier this week Clipper announced it has extended its partnership agreement with Asda, 10 years after the first agreement was signed.

Leeds-based Asda said that Clipper has a long history of excellent service and this contract builds on its expertise and experience.

Clipper will manage fulfilment for Asda’s General Merchandise and George product ranges. Clipper is currently responsible for receipt, storage, returns processing and online order fulfilment from its sites in Doncaster and Ollerton.

The original agreement began in 2008.

Chris Hall, Asda’s senior director for central logistics, said: “We are looking forward to a continued partnership with Clipper for fulfilment of our e-commerce ranges through their Ollerton site. Clipper has a long history of excellent service.”