Lakeland has reported that sales rose by over £8m to a record high of £166m for the year to December 2013 – but pre-tax profit fell from £6.2m to £3m.
The housewares chain, which is based in Windermere, attributed the result to significant investment and price-matching over the period. Lakeland’s retail & finance director Bob Granger said: “Whilst investment in new business and price-matching has affected profitability in the short term, these are long term investments securing Lakeland’s market position as a competitive retailer and forming the foundations for the considerable future growth of the business.”
Throughout 2013 Lakeland invested in price reductions in order to maintain its market position, including matching prices of leading online retailers.
Last January, Lakeland announced plans to inject £10m into the expansion of its distribution centre in the Cumbrian town of Kendal. The family-owned business said the spend would allow it to effectively double its storage capacity.
At the time, managing director Sam Rayner commented: “We’ve been holding off on this investment for a number of years but now feel we need to prepare the company for the next phase of its development – and the expansion of the distribution centre is a key part of our plans for growth.’
Last May, Lakeland invested significantly in bringing the Lakeland brand to the German market with the launch of dedicated website lakeland.de. The company said it is “very pleased” with the first year of trading and “looks forward to further success as the brand continues to establish itself”.
Lakeland’s business in the Middle East went from strength to strength throughout 2013, producing 16% like-for-like sales growth. It operates nine stores in the region.
International growth has continued this year with the company opening two stores in a new market: India. The outlets, in Pune and Bangalore, are operated in partnership with Trent, part of the Tata Group.
Growth has not been limited to overseas. Lakeland opened seven new stores in the UK in 2013 (including its most northerly to date: a branch at Eastgate Shopping Centre in Inverness), while many existing shops were given extensive refits.
Lakeland celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. It offers a range of more than 4,000 products, sold online and in 68 stores nationwide.