Dr Martens plans to float on stock market for first time

Bootmaker’s private equity owners plan to sell down stake and offer shares to the public

Ben Chapman
Monday 11 January 2021 13:52
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<p>Total sales rose 18 per cent in the six months to September 2020</p>

Total sales rose 18 per cent in the six months to September 2020

Footwear brand Dr Martens is planning to sell shares to stock market investors for the first time in its 60-year history.

Dr Martens sold in excess of 11 million pairs of shoes last year, generating £672m in the 12 months to 31 March.

The maker of the eight-holed 1460 boot saw total sales rise 18 per cent in the six months to September 2020 despite economic turmoil caused by the pandemic.

Its owner, private equity firm Permira, plans to sell down its stake and list Dr Martens on the London Stock Exchange.

Kenny Wilson, chief executive of the company, highlighted its "significant global growth potential" in the future as it hopes to expand further through increased investment.

The brand sells a large proportion of its products through partner retailers, but said it wants to continue the expansion of its own retail operations.

Dr Martens runs 130 of its own stores across the globe, while sales from its own online business have grown to represent a fifth of all its revenues.

The company's air-soled shoe was developed by German army doctor Klaus Maertens after the Second World War, before Northampton-based R Griggs bought patent rights to manufacture the shoes in the UK, making the work boots for the first time in 1960.

The Griggs family sold the Dr Martens brand to Permira for £300m in 2013. By 2020, Dr Martens generated revenues of £318.2m for the six months to September.

AJ Bell investment director said the initial public offering (IPO) would attract attention from investors worldwide.

However, he added: “A few warning signs flash immediately. The first is widespread consumer criticism over a decline in product quality. Once known as being reliable, long-lasting footwear, Dr Martens’ products have more recently been accused of having sub-standard stitching and soles which peel off after short use.

“Could it be that the business has suffered under private equity ownership? Many investors are sceptical about backing companies that are being sold by private equity, for fear they might have suffered from underinvestment and subjected to a 'quantity over quality’ approach for production."

Mr Wilson said: "The announcement of our intention to float reflects the great achievements of the Dr Martens team and brand over the last seven years.

"Our iconic brand appeals to a diverse range of consumers around the world who wear our footwear to express their individual style.

"We have invested massively to ensure that we deliver the best digital and store experiences to connect with our wearers, and through this we are driving our long term, sustainable growth."

Additional reporting by PA

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