Dr Martens’ vegan range drives 70% profits rise

News comes as owner mulls sale or flotation to realise profits on £300m investment

(Image credit: (Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images))

Dr Martens’ profits soared by 70% in the year to the end of March, thanks to the success of its new “vegan” range of boots.

The shoemaker’s chief executive, Kenny Wilson, says sales of the vegan range – which replaces the leather upper with synthetic polyurethane plastic – have increased by “multiple hundreds of percent”.

Vegan boots now account for 4% of the shoemaker’s sales, thanks to “increasing awareness of the environmental impact of livestock among consumers”, says The Guardian.

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Online sales rose by two-thirds to £72.7m, accounting for 16% of total revenues for the company, which is expanding to international markets.

Due to the increased margins, underlying earnings – without taking into account spending on expansion to new markets – rose by 70% year-on-year to £85m, the company announced.

Other products to sell well in the period included sandals, collaborations with the Sex Pistols and designer Marc Jacobs, and versions for children.

Meanwhile, the shoemaker’s owner is considering cashing in its investment. Permira, which bought Dr Martens in 2013 in a £300m deal, is now looking at a possible sale or stock market flotation to realise its profits.

Permira’s standard holding period for investments is five to seven years and it has owned Dr Martens for five and a half years. During that period, the brand has almost tripled its revenues, from £160.4m in the 2012-13 financial year to £454.4m in the year to 31 March 2019.

Wilson said a decision from Permira “could be coming over the horizon”. The former Cath Kidston and Levi’s executive, who was hired last year, added: “They are starting to look ahead to when they are going to sell the business.”

Dr Martens boots were first manufactured in Wollaston, Northamptonshire, in 1960. It now has 109 of its own stores, including two new locations in the UK and four new shops in the US.

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