Speedo sales lift Pentland

Record sales of Speedo swimwear helped send total revenues at leisure brands group Pentland up 10% last year to £1.9 billion.

Speedo's Sculpture product line of swimsuits for women achieved 39% growth last year, brand owner Pentland said.
Speedo's Sculpture product line of swimsuits for women achieved 39% growth last year, brand owner Pentland said.

The family-owned business said sales at its brands division, which also saw record performances from Lacoste Chaussures and Ted Baker footwear, jumped 11% to £590 million after strong trading in countries including China, Brazil, Russia and Turkey.

Pentland owns a 57% stake in JD Sports Fashion, where sales grew 9% to £1.3 billion as the Blacks and Millets outdoor specialist bought out of administration in 2012 continues to recover.

Pre-tax profits were 36% higher at £85 million in 2013, having been hit in the previous year by the Blacks and Millets deal.

Pentland started out in 1932 as a shoe wholesaler in Liverpool. By the next decade the group had transformed itself into a footwear manufacturer, and in 1964 it became one of the first European companies to source shoes from Asia.

Fuelled by this access to cheaper resources, the company has grown rapidly over the years through a series of acquisitions and licence deals. Other brands include Berghaus and Canterbury.

Today the family business, now in its second and third generations, employs more than 19,000 people and boasts over 1,000 stand-alone shops and 10,000 dedicated retail areas across the world.

The group said its Speedo Sculpture product line of swimsuits for women achieved 39% growth over the year, following a marketing campaign that championed the brand's role in encouraging fitness and inspiring people to swim.

Its sports fascia reported record revenues growth in its core UK and Irish markets with JD posting like-for-like sales up 6.7% over the last year, with Blacks and Millets eyeing a return to growth this year.