END Clothing founders share £47.5m dividend as firm’s success continues

The founders and directors of trendy fashion retailer END Clothing shared a dividend payout of £47.5m as the company’s revenues closed in on the £200m mark, new accounts reveal.

Ashworth and Parker Limited, which trades as END from a number of high street stores and a popular website, has released accounts for the year ending March 31 2021 which show that its turnover increased 16.8% to £199.2m despite the challenges of the pandemic. Over the same period, operating profit increased to nearly £45m.

The accounting period ends just before a deal which saw investment firm The Carlyle Group buying out END’s equity partners Index Ventures, with the global group taking a 71.3% stake in the company in a deal reported to value it at more than £750m.

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That deal saw co-founders Christiaan Ashworth and John Parker remain at the firm as co-CEOs, though their stakes in the company were reduced. The acquisition also saw former Gucci executive Patrizio Di Marco installed as chair of the company.

Shortly before the year end, the company made a dividend payment of £47.5m which was shared equally between the company’s co-founders.

In the accounts, Mr Ashworth outlines the challenges of the year that saw major disruption for the retail industry.

He says: “The year ended March 31 2021 was one of the most challenging in END’s history, during what was undoubtedly one of the most difficult global events experienced. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant and too often negative impact on lives, families and businesses, but has also been a source of countless amazing stories of resilience, selflessness, sacrifice and determination.

“Our thoughts go out to everyone and their famillies who have gone through difficult times, and our repect and apprecitation goes to everyone who has supported the collective efforts and made sacrifices to help humanity navigate these challenges and move forwards.

“END has been fortunate during this period, although our stores have been shut for many months and supply chains disrupted, our online-led business business model has provided resilience and strong results were delivered over the course of the year.”

The accounts highlight END’s approach to building partnerships with more than 500 clothing brands that supply the high-end products which have helped it build a customer base of more than 4m people.

Headcount at the firm grew to 636 during the year and it increased R&D spending to improve its online offering to £4m, as well as completing the fit-out of a property in London that is home to its web and technology engineering team.

Mr Ashworth said the firm – which recently opened a second shop in Newcastle, taking over the former Mawson, Swan and Morgan building at the top of Grey Street – was “confident in the prospects for the future and the multiple growth opportunities”.

He said END was focussed on growing its global menswear business, increasing its portfolio of stores and had launched a new womenswear section.

The accounts also reveal that the company received almost £1m in furlough payments but has re-paid that to the Government.

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