Cashmere firm warmed by sales in hot countries
Textiles: Johnstons of Elgin sees profits jump, boosted by overseas demand
Moray cashmere firm Johnstons of Elgin announced a 59% jump in profits just hours before showcasing some of its latest designs on the catwalk at London Fashion Week.
The textiles manufacturer is enjoying strong growth in demand internationally, with export sales up by 17% during 2017.
Announcing its latest
“It takes our innovative new products to the next level”
annual figures yesterday, Johnstons said pre-tax profits surged to £9.9 million last year, from just over £6.2m in 2016, while total sales grew by 7.3% to £73.9m.
Chief executive Simon Cotton said it was not the weak pound boosting Johnstons’ coffers, but fast-growing demand for the firm’s products around the world.
Sales in Japan and private label business are particularly healthy but the company is also seeing increased trade in “hot weather countries”, he added.
Powerful air conditioning systems in locations such as the Middle East and South America are leaving people feeling chilly and reaching for Johnstons’ warm clothing accessories, he explained.
He said: “We are delighted with our results in 2017 which represent an outstanding performance by the whole team.
“Growth of the Johnstons of Elgin brand in sales and reputation worldwide, with our strong position in Japan and an increasing global presence, has supported margins and enabled additional investments in the business.
“Our order book is strong for 2018 and we expect sales growth to continue this year, though with cashmere and wool prices rising sharply around the world there is pressure on costs and margins.”
About 20% of Johnstons’ exports are to other EU countries.
Mr Cotton said the firm would overcome Brexit whatever happens, adding: “We are obviously watching the situation closely but will deal with this latest challenge when it comes.”
Johnstons, founded in 1797, is the largest textile firm in the UK in terms of employment.
It has more than 1,000 people across sites in Elgin and Hawick on its payroll, with about two-thirds of the workforce based in Moray.
Its CEO was speaking in the run-up to Johnstons’ 20-strong team of models – 15 women and five men – showing off the firm’s creations at the Waldorf Hilton hotel in London.
“This is the second time we have been at London Fashion Week,” Mr Cotton said, adding: “It takes our innovative new products and designs to the next level.”
WARMING UP: Johnstons of Elgin has reported growing demand for its clothing accessories around the world