Thursday, 1 Oct 2020

Dr Martens repays furlough money to Government after sales boom

Dr Martens has repaid its furlough money to the Government after better-than-expected trading during lockdown.

The British footwear brand said sales rose by nearly 50% in the year to June, while profits soared by 110% to £142 million. Chief executive Kenny Wilson said it had been a year of ‘exceptional growth’ for the 73-year-old brand, despite being forced to shut stores after the UK went into lockdown on March 23.

The company had claimed furlough payments under the Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme, covering 80% of pay for retail and manufacturing staff, between March and June.

However, the firm confirmed the money had been repaid, joining others such as Games Workshop and Spectator magazine, which have also handed back public funds.

Mr Wilson said: ‘The last few months have been a very challenging time for everyone and I am extremely proud of the resilience and commitment our teams have shown, which has enabled us to continue delivering for our customers throughout the pandemic.

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‘Looking ahead, while we are currently in a volatile and uncertain trading environment, we have a very clear strategy in place supported by a strong brand and consumer connections, and I am confident in the outlook for the business.’

The furlough scheme is due to end on October 31 after Chancellor Rishi Sunak granted a four-month extension.

Last week, Sunak warned some jobs won’t be available after the scheme ends but said ‘most reasonable people’ agree the government cannot keep paying wages ‘indefinitely’.

He said: ‘In those situations it’s better we look forward and provide those people with new opportunities.’

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