Black Friday promotions boost Clipper

Clipper reported significant organic growth, both with long-standing customers and with more recent start-ups
Clipper reported significant organic growth, both with long-standing customers and with more recent start-ups
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​Clipper Logistics, the firm that distributes goods for retailers such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Asda​ ​and Morrisons,​ has reported another year of double digit growth and said it has benefited from the explosive growth of online retail sales.

The Leeds-based group said retailers enjoyed unprecedented sales during ​​Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with John Lewis reporting its busiest single hour of online trading ever.​

CEO Tony Mannix said: "​Black Friday and Cyber Monday​ we​​re​ very busy. Some retailers are saying good things, others are saying it wasn't so sparkling.

"Overall retail had a pretty good time. Retailers spread promotional activity across October and November and John Lewis reported its busiest ever trading.

"Retailers are bucking the gloom and doom out there."

Clipper put its success down to organic growth with the likes of Asda and Wilko and new contract wins with the likes of Asos.​ ​

​It reported significant organic growth, both with long-standing customers and with more recent start-ups, including the​ ​commencement of new Vype operations for BAT​.​

​The group said its Polish facility gives it room for manoeuvre amid the Brexit uncertainty.

Executive chairman​ Steve Parkin said: "We took the view we'd have a foot in both camps. You never know - in future years there could be a shift to Europe.

"If borders become tighter and you are an international player, you may decide not to bring goods into the UK to export them. We have no idea what will happen so there's no point in wasting energy on it."

The group said some EU workers have voted with their feet and decided to leave the UK.

"There has been a slowing down in the labour pool," said Mr Parkin.

"We are looking at shift patterns that might suit UK workers such as young Mums. We are leaving all options open."

Reve​​nue rose 21 per cent to £200m in the six months ​to October​ 31 and pre-tax profits jumped 16 per cent to £8m.

The group has increase its interim dividend by 17 per cent to 2.8​p per share.

Over the half year Clipper e​xtended ​its​ Clicklink click-and-collect network to other retail customers including Supergroup and Urban​ ​Outfitters​ and​ launched new operations for Secret Sales, M&S and River Island​.

It also started a major new sortation and distribution contract with the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group​.

The group completed the acquisitions of Tesam Distribution​ ​and R​​epairTech, both of which ​we​re​ ​immediately earnings-enhancing. ​Clipper said that ​Tesam ​will ​enhance​ its​ existing relationship with M&S​.​

Clipper is looking for further acquisitions in both the UK and Europe.

“I am pleased to report that the ​g​roup has once again delivered strong results in line with the ​b​oard’s expectations​," said Mr Parkin.​

​"​Strong revenue and profit growth has continued in all sectors.

​"​The new business pipeline continues to be strong, and we expect the positive momentum from existing and new​ ​contracts to continue into the second half of the year.​ ​The ​board remains confident for the future​."

Analyst Greg Poulton at N+1 Singer said: "The outlook remains positive and the new business pipeline continues to be strong.

​"​Management expects the positive momentum from existing and new contracts to continue into ​the second half​ and post period end, the Black Friday trading period was successful. Notably, John Lewis​, ​one of Clipper’s largest clients​,​ reported a record performance on the day.​"​