Pentland Group PLC reported total group revenue up 25 percent in the company’s year ended December 31, to £3.6 billion from £2.9 billion a year ago. The gains were driven by a record performance from JD Sports Fashion PLC.

Group operating profit, before amortization of intangibles and exceptional items, grew 14 percent to £376 million from £331 million.

Group net assets increased 22 percent to £1,276 million from £1,044 million.

Pentland Group said it was awarded two prestigious family business awards–the EY UK Family Business of Excellence award and the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) & FBN Global Family Business Award.

Retail Division 

Pentland is the majority shareholder in JD Sports Fashion PLC, which had another exceptional year, with revenues up 33 percent and operating profits strongly ahead of the prior year. This was driven by its ongoing investment in enhancing its multichannel proposition, a focus on driving continual improvements through its buying, merchandising and retail disciplines and its continued success in offering customers the best combination of physical and digital retail on an increasingly global scale.
Since year-end, JD Sports Fashion has announced the completion of its acquisition of Finish Line Inc, a U.S. retailer of athletic footwear and apparel.

Pentland Brands Division

Pentland Brands continued to build its presence in key markets during the year, resulting in a strong performance by several of its brands.  2017 highlights include:
•        Ellesse enjoyed another strong year, delivering 21 percent revenue growth and building on the continued favorable trend in sports fashion.
•        Speedo achieved 8 percent sales growth, underpinned by its move to a direct-to-consumer business model in China in 2016.
•        Canterbury sponsored the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand and achieved considerable success with the partnership.

In 2017, Pentland Brands reorganized and streamlined its operations, actively managing its brand portfolio, including the creation of a joint-venture with the Lacoste Group, one of its major brand partners.

Pentland Brands said it continues to seek to attract high quality brands into the Pentland fold.  Further progress was made in 2017 with the acquisition of U.S. footwear brand SeaVees. Since year-end, Pentland Brands has also announced the acquisition of cycling brand Endura.

The Pentland Group continues to be committed to corporate responsibility and recently published its annual corporate responsibility review, Doing Business Better.  2017 highlights include:
•        The JD Foundation launched the ‘Inspired to Aspire’ mentoring program to help young people prepare for the world of work.
•        40 percent of Berghaus’ range was Madekind for the environment and 70 percent of Speedo’s men’s water shorts used eco-friendly production techniques or materials.
•        Pentland Brands trained more than 90 staff in factory-facing roles and JD trained more than 170 auditors to spot modern slavery risks in the supply chain.

Stephen Rubin, chairman of Pentland Group, commented: “I am delighted that Pentland Group’s 85th set of annual results, once again, demonstrate our commitment to nurturing our brands and evolving our business to ensure that we continue to meet the changing needs of our retail customers, brand partners and consumers.

“We are very grateful to all our people for their passion and dedication to ensuring that we build our business, doing business the right way.”

Pentland Group’s Brand Division owns Speedo, Berghaus, Canterbury, Mitre, Boxfresh and Red or Dead and also operates, under global licenses, the footwear of Lacoste and Ted Baker and Kickers in the U.K.

The group’s retail division comprises the activities of JD Sports Fashion Limited, in which Pentland Group holds a 57 percent share. Pentland Group also invests in other businesses across a number of different industries.

Headquartered in the U.K., Pentland Group employs more than 19,000 people. Its brands are available across 190 countries, and it operates more than 800 stand-alone shops.

Photo courtesy JD Sports