The Mail on Sunday

Outdoors retailer runs to the hills

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HOLIDAYMAK­ERS forsaking the Loire for the Lake District have given a boost to outdoor clothing chain Mountain Warehouse.

Profits for the year to the end of February increased 74 per cent to £6.2 million as the company opened more stores and the British opted for ‘staycation­s’ rather than trips to warmer climes. Sales increased 50 per cent to £47.5 million.

The company added 30 stores last year, opening its 100th last month in Abergavenn­y, Gwent. It plans to grow by a similar number this year.

Managing director Mark Neale, who founded the company in 1997, said: ‘We appeal to people who want to go walking at weekends with the kids and the dog.

‘Generally speaking, they would rather be doing that than going shopping,’ he added, explaining that in the past year the chain had added stores in market towns and popular outdoors destinatio­ns as other retailers shut up shop.

It has taken leases on four former Woolworths stores, including one in Buxton in the Peak District and one in Kirkwall, in Orkney.

The performanc­e of the private firm contrasts with rival Blacks Leisure, which closed 89 stores last year and last week had to fend off a £26 million bid from rebel shareholde­r Sports Direct.

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