Step up at shoe supplier

WILLIAM GLEESON

Chamberlain Phipps, the footwear supplier, made pounds 13.2m profit before tax for the year to the end of April, up 23 per cent on pro-forma pre- tax profits for the previous year.

The company, which floated on the stock market last August, made an actual profit before tax of pounds 12.4m. Turnover was pounds 135m against pounds 77m in the previous year.

The year to the end of April had been the group's most profitable to date.

Executive chairman Dan Sullivan said: "This performance, together with our proven ability to acquire complementary businesses, underlines our strategy to develop an integrated footwear products business with leading positions in international markets."

Progress has been made in export markets, which represent 22 per cent of total group sales. Much of the momentum for this growth has been provided by the increasing emphasis on the sale of higher margin speciality products and, in particular, branded products. The group's portfolio has been augmented over the year by acquisition of established brands.

Mr Sullivan said: "In the absence of significant change in the group's markets, your board expects that the outcome for the year will be satisfactory. The board believes the trends becoming evident in the footwear industry worldwide will continue to provide Chamberlain Phipps with numerous opportunities for growth, both organic and by acquisition."

Earnings per share are 20.2p, a rise of 29 per cent on 15.6p in the previous year. The full dividend for the year is 8p a share.

The company's share price moved up 2p to close at 173p.

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