Mountain Warehouse aims to grow in Yorkshire after record Christmas trading

Outdoor retailer Mountain Warehouse is looking for opportunities to grow in Yorkshire after reporting record Christmas trading following a surge in sales of socks, fleeces and gloves.

Monday, 21st January 2019, 5:09 pm
Updated Monday, 21st January 2019, 5:10 pm
Mountain Warehouse has unveiled its Christmas trading figures Picture David Watts

In the 13 weeks to January 6, Mountain Warehouse saw revenue jump almost 12 per cent to £84.7 million.

The privately owned group also enjoyed a bumper Black Friday, with total sales up 20 per cent and online sales passing £1 million on a single day for the first time in its history.

The company’s chief executive Mark Neale said this puts the business on track for record full-year profits.

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He added: “The business is continuing to perform strongly despite the economic backdrop.

“The prior year’s performance was exceptional due to the cold weather and widespread snow we saw in the run up to Christmas 2017.

“I’m therefore really pleased to report this record performance despite the unusually mild weather we experienced.

“This puts us well on course for another record year and as a result we are continuing to invest in more stores, new territories and our online business.

Mr Neale added: “We are also building our infrastructure with new customer service and distribution centres to make sure we keep delivering for the over 10 million people who shop with us each year.”

Last year the retailer, which employs around 3,000 people, grew its sales by 22 per cent to £225.3 million and booked earnings of £32.6 million.

Mountain Warehouse served more than three million customers during the 13-week festive period.

Over the festive season, it sold more than 500,000 winter jackets and 400,000 pairs of gloves.

The chain, which started with a single store in 1997, now has 340 in nine countries and plans to reach 400 over the next 18 months, creating 600 new jobs.

Last year Mountain Warehouse offloaded a 20 per cent stake to private equity firm Inflexion, giving it an enterprise value of £310 million

A spokesman said: “Mountain Warehouse opened in the new Leeds Thorpe Park development just before Christmas and at the St. James Retail Park outside Sheffield earlier in the year.

“They are definitely looking for more opportunities in Yorkshire which is a really strong part of the country for Mountain Warehouse.”

Yorkshire has been a significant area of growth for Mountain Warerehouse in recent years.

The group already has stores in places like Beverley, Ilkley, Northallerton, Ripon, Whitby, Harrogate, Scarborough and Skipton.

Mr Neale told The Yorkshire Post last year: “We’re quite selective. I’m looking for a shop that’s not just going to be great for this year but in five years’ time.”

“There are great health benefits, for both physical and mental health, from the great outdoors, particularly in Yorkshire.”

The group has signed an agreement to open a new distribution centre in Poznan, Poland in the spring, to support the continuing store opening programme in Europe.

It opened a new customer services centre in Coventry in November, to support its online growth, which will create 50 jobs in its first year of operation.

The company’s sister chain Neon Sheep, expanded to 10 stores with sales rocketing by 550 per cent over the 13 weeks to January 6, Mountain Warehouse said.