Cash­mere firm warmed by sales in hot coun­tries

Tex­tiles: John­stons of El­gin sees prof­its jump, boosted by over­seas de­mand

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - BUSINESS - BY KEITH FINDLAY

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

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