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Dr Martens' profits march forward

image copyrightKirstin Sinclair

Strong sales in Europe and the Middle East have boosted profits at UK footwear firm Dr Martens.

Earnings grew 33% to £50m in the year to March, with sales up 20% to £348.6m.

The Northamptonshire-based company, most famous for its distinctive boots, said it had seen double-digit growth in revenues and profits in all regions.

It started production in Northampton in 1960, and although most of its boots are now made overseas about 70,000 a year are still made at the UK factory.

Dr Martens makes more than half of its revenues from its most recognisable product, the 1460 boot and sister product the 1461 shoe.

The company said 40% of its revenues came from selling direct to consumers.

'Scope for growth'

Over the year the company, which is owned by private equity firm Permira, opened 25 new stores, including nine in the UK, giving it a total of 94 owned stores worldwide.

The company said it had "spotted" a number of high-profile people sporting its wares, including David and Brooklyn Beckham, Kanye West, Pharrel Williams and Cardi B.

Paul Mason, chairman of Dr Martens, said: "This has been a fantastic year for Dr Martens." He said there was still "significant scope for growth across our markets, particularly via our Direct to Consumer channels, and this will remain a strategic priority in the years ahead".

In the past year the company appointed a new chief executive, Kenny Wilson, whose previous job was at the retro-style homeware and fashion brand, Kath Kidston.

Dr Martens' air-cushioned sole was developed by Munich-based Dr Maertens and Dr Funck and the UK patent rights were sold to R Griggs Group.

The footwear that emerged from their collaboration was initially sold as a work boot, but was taken up by the early skinhead youth movement of the 1960s.

The boots also become popular with punks in the 1970s and had a resurgence when Britpop emerged in the 1990s.

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