Dec 9, 2021
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Dr Martens treads boldly with record sales in H1, strength continues into H2

Dec 9, 2021

Dr Martens turned in another set of powerful results on Thursday with the footwear specialist reporting revenues up in double-digits to reach record levels. It also said footfall is improving and while still below pre-Covid levels, “conversion is higher”.

Dr Martens

The company said the momentum seen in retail in the first half continued to strengthen at the start of H2 during October and November. E-commerce trading trends “remain positive and in line with the first-half performance”. 

Looking at the first half, revenue in the six months to the end of September rose 16% — or 24% in constant currency (CC) — to £369.9 million. EBITDA was up 3% (17% CC) to £88.8 million and pre-tax profit surged 46% to £61.3 million. Profit after tax rose an even bigger 65% to £48.6 million.

It was helped by the direct-to-consumer mix rising 6pts to 40% (that drove the gross margin up 2.8pts to 61.3%) and by retail recovering strongly. Retail revenue was up 92% and made up 18% of the total mix (a 7pts rise). It was also up 2% on a two-year comparison.

E-commerce revenue continued to grow in double-digits, up 10% on the year and a massive 117% against two years ago.

Wholesales revenue rose a less impressive 6% (or 13% CC), but around £20 million of it was delayed from Q2 into the second half, predominantly in relation to the Americas.

And talking of the Americas, the company said the growth there was very strong at 40% (or 57% CC), and EMEA was up 5% and 12% CC. At the start of the period in EMEA, it took Italy and Iberia back under direct control and “we are very pleased with their performance to date”.

But while APAC rose 4% CC, it was down 2% on a reported basis as Covid-19 restrictions continued to impact this region. Yet longer term, the company said that “APAC, particularly Japan and China, remain a significant growth opportunity for us”.

Dr Martens

Dr Martens opened 13 own stores during the six months, including four in Germany, its first in Spain (Barcelona), three in the US, and one in APAC. Since the period ended it has opened its second store in Italy.

The biggest operational challenge during the half was the closure, due to Covid-19, of three of its third-party factories in South Vietnam, for around three months (hitting 33% of production capacity) plus difficulties in booking containers and ships.

But last year it had maintained purchasing volumes from factories, as it anticipated “it would be prudent to build inventory levels”. This decision “proved very valuable, as it then enabled us to cover much of the supply shortfall from factory closures and shipping delays”.


On the product front, the company focused on “continuity” product that represents 84% of its revenue. But it also added newness with collabs with labels Supreme, Bodega, Clot and A-Cold-Wall. Its sandals business continued to grow strongly, with revenues up 45%, with the Voss and Blaire performing particularly strongly. 

During the half it launched a new sole construction, Quad Neoteric, which first launched with the Heaven by Marc Jacobs collab before being rolled out further. Its new casual innovation, Tarian, “designed to appeal to the sneaker-wearing male”, was rolled out with the Tarik utility boot. Again it used collaborations, with Yohji Yamamoto and Atmos, to first introduce the range.

Dr Martens

Over the summer it carried out a detailed study across all seven priority markets “to assess brand strength and consumer pricing perception”. As a result of this study, it will be increasing price in Americas and EMEA from AW22 in line with inflation, “maintaining current pricing architecture and we anticipate no impact on demand”.

It’s sticking by its guidance for FY22 and “from FY23 and over the medium-term we continue to anticipate mid-teens revenue growth and are targeting e-commerce to grow to at least 40% mix, with total DTC, including retail, to at least 60% mix, together with a medium-term target of a 30% EBITDA margin”.

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