Mountain Warehouse warns of higher prices after Brexit as sales hit record £77m


Outdoor retailer Mountain Warehouse has notched up record sales in the first half of the year, but boss Mark Neale warned that the collapse in sterling will mean higher prices for shoppers from next year.

The company said first-half sales grew 29.5% to £76.8 million, with pre-tax profit edging down from £4.3 million to £4 million.

Mr Neale told the Press Association: "The biggest problem for us is the currency. We're hedged until February 2016, but after that we're going to have to deal with the increased costs in three ways.

"A third will come out of securing better prices from factories, a third will be absorbed by the business and a third will be passed on to customers with selective price increases. We are not alone in that - most retailers will have to do the same, so we will still be better value versus others."

Mountain Warehouse has also taken immediate plans for a stock market flotation off the table, with Mr Neale adding that Britain's decision to quit the European Union "made the decision to not proceed with it a lot easier".

The chief executive took umbrage with Home Secretary Amber Rudd's suggestion that businesses should be forced to compile lists of foreign workers.

"We have a lot of foreign workers, from inside and outside the EU, but we've never thought to count them. We recruit on a talent basis, not nationality. Businesses depend on foreign workers.

"It's a bizarre policy, and it looks like it's already been dropped," he said.

The firm also plans to ramp up expansion, with the aim of eventually having 300 UK stores and 300 international outlets.

It currently has around 250 in the UK alongside 50 overseas stores which span Poland, Germany and Ireland, the US and Canada. In the first six months of the year, Mountain Warehouse opened 24 new stores, creating 250 jobs.

On the prospect of a Brexit-induced consumer downturn, Mr Neale said: "Ultimately, I think Brexit will be fine. During the last recession we grew the business, so we've seen it all before and we actually benefited from people searching for better value."