Cotswold Outdoor’s earnings climb as web presence builds

Marion Dakers
COTSWOLD Outdoor has rebounded from a tough few years with a 14.6 per cent rise in full-year sales to £103.4m.

The firm, which has 68 stores selling climbing and camping equipment, said like-for-like sales jumped 6.8 per cent in 2012, helped by “very strong” web sales and four new branches opening during the year.

Profits after tax doubled to £1.6m, which the firm hailed as a “much stronger performance” following a tough 2011 when Cotswold was hit by bad weather, tough conditions on the high street and steep discounting brought about by the administration of rival retailer Blacks.

“This good financial performance has been achieved despite the impact of increasing costs especially business rates and utilities,” said chief executive Hans Falkenburg in the accounts filed at Companies House.

“Our efforts to grow top line sales will be focused on improved performance of our existing stores, selective new openings in quality locations and our online operations.”

Cotswold’s wage bill rose from £13.4m to £15m, while sole director Falkenburg was paid a total of £283,000, down from £343,000 the previous year.

The firm, owned by Lion Capital’s AS Adventure group of companies, paid out no dividend, in line with last year.