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Dr Martens sales and profits rise as it sells more direct to consumers, in-store and online

Dr Martens sold almost two-thirds of its shoe sales direct to its customers ahead of Christmas. Image: Cineberg/

Dr Martens sold more of its shoes direct to consumers in the first half of its financial year, both online and in its own stores. Sales and profit growth came despite Covid-19 causing factory closures in Vietnam that reduced its production capacity by a third for around three months. An earlier decision to stock up at the beginning of the year stood it in good stead. 

The footwear brand, ranked Top350 in RXUK Top500 research, today reported revenues of £369.9m in the half-year to September 30 2021. That’s 16% higher than at the same time last year. Pre-tax profits of £48.6m were 65% up on last time. 

The brand made 40% of its sales direct to end customers in the half year to September 30 2021. . That’s six percentage points (6pp) up on the same time last year, as its in-store sales grew by 92% on last time – and 2% on two years ago – to account for 18% of sales. Online sales grew by 10% on last time, and 117% on two years ago to account for 22% of sales – down from 24% last year. 

The momentum of the first half of the year has strengthened into October and November, the brand says, with ecommerce trading staying at a similar level. In the US, says Dr Martens, shipping delays and uncertainty about when shipments will be processed through ports has affected its wholesale business. 

Dr Martens’ chief executive Kenny Wilson says the strong first-half performance was, “testament to strength of our business model, the under penetration of our brand globally, our agility in adapting to changing conditions and the passion and dedication of our people.

Wilson adds: “We continue to take a long-term custodian approach to growing the brand, prioritising DTC channels and our seven priority markets. At the start of the period we took Italy and Iberia back under direct control and we are very pleased with their performance to date. 

“We took the decision to enter the year with higher inventory levels, made possible by the continuity and carryover nature of our product and our partnership approach to supplier relationships. This meant that DTC availability levels remained relatively high and gross margin was not impacted, despite the supply chain disruption and global shipping delays experienced across the industry.”

He adds: “Our strong first half performance combined with the continued momentum in DRC trading into the second half gives us confidence in achieving market expectations for the full year.”

Multichannel strategy

Looking ahead Dr Martens is now following a strategy of growth through ecommerce, that uses stores as “brand beacons”, connecting with customers through marketing, engagement and through sustainable global growth. It will also invest in its operations and IT in order to boost growth and ensure it has the capacity and data to support future growth. Through the whole of its current financial year it expects to open between 20 and 25 new shops.

The business is committed to net zero emissions by 2030, and by 2040 wants to see all footwear made from sustainable materials by 2040. 

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