Position last year: 96
For Clarks, 2017 was a year of transformation and setting the foundations for future growth. CEO Mike Shearwood bulked up his board with senior executive hires including a new Clarks’ Asia-Pacific regional president, managing director of the European region and two independent non-executive directors.
As was the case for many retailers, Brexit continued to bite and the dip in the value of the pound led to a 15% drop in group operating profit to £39.1m for the year to 31 January. Global turnover was up 8% to £1.7bn, but turnover in the UK and Ireland dropped 5% to £632.3m as a result of “difficult trading conditions”.
In more positive news, the firm announced that it is bringing large-scale manufacturing back to the UK – creating a new manufacturing arm in Somerset, which will have the capacity to produce up to 300,000 pairs of its Desert Boots per year. And as a business it continues to impress, picking up awards for Consumer Choice, Best Kidswear Brand and Store Manager of the Year at the Drapers Footwear Awards in May.