Mountain Warehouse plots expansion as profits rise

Outdoor store Mountain Warehouse has defied retail gloom with another year of sales and profit growth, as the business embarks on a major expansion plan.

Sales were up 13% in the 12 months to February 24, reaching £255 million, the company said. Like-for-like sales were up 5.3%.

It marks the 22nd year in a row of unbroken sales growth for the business, which was founded in 1997.

Pre-tax profits were up 14% to £23.7 million.

The company said it had opened 48 new stores in the period and has plans for 50 more in 2019, which will create an estimated 550 jobs.

Speaking to the Press Association, chief executive and founder Mark Neale said the brand had escaped the high street crisis due to its “relentless focus on value for money”, as well as new products and picking the right locations for stores.

He added that expansion has been aided by the number of retailers closing shops through company voluntary arrangements (CVAs).

“Last year we got eight new shops on the back of the New Look CVA which was pretty helpful to us as they were in towns where we’d been trying to get a shop for long time,” he said.

In addition to the core Mountain Warehouse brand, the business also runs gift shop Neon Sheep. Another 10 branches are set to open this year, doubling the size of the chain.

The company last year received an investment of £45 million from Inflexion Private Equity Partners last year, which it said would help it to gain share of the European outdoor clothing and equipment market.

Mountain Warehouse expects to spend £15 million this year reinvesting in the business.

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